Archive for the 'Crazy Noises' Category

20
Sep
12

Crazy Noises: Behind the Laughter

Behind the Laughter2

“I can’t believe it, we won another contest!” – Marge Simpson
“The Simpsons are going to Delaware!” – Homer Simpson
“I want to see Wilmington!” – Lisa Simpson
“I want to visit a screen door factory.” – Bart Simpson
“This’ll be the last season.” – Homer Simpson

For the fourth summer in a row, we here at the Dead Homer Society will be spending some time discussing twelve year old Simpsons episodes.  This year we’re doing Season 11.  Why Season 11?  Because we’ve done Seasons 8, 9 and 10 already, and it’s time to take an unflinching look at the end of the show.  Since Skype and podcasts didn’t exist in 1999, and we want to discuss these episodes the way the internet intended, we’re sticking with the UTF-8 world of chat rooms and instant messaging.  This text has been edited for clarity and spelling (especially on “diaphragm”).

Charlie Sweatpants: Behind the laughter is one of the few Season 11 episodes that I do watch from time to time.

Dave: Do tell.

Charlie Sweatpants: This is one of those very few episodes that I think are basically Season 9 worthy. It’s definitely got some rough patches and things that don’t quite work, but it moves quickly and has a lot of good ideas.

  It definitely helps that there’s basically no story and they can just do flashbacks and little segments. By this time, story was hardly a concern.

Mad Jon: Agreed. I think the premise of the episode allowed much more license than normal.

  I was willing to overlook Homer being crazy in the interviews for comments like "And that horrible act of child abuse…"

Charlie Sweatpants: Right.

There’s "Peepin It Real", Teenwolf 3, Susan B Anthony Man, and Marge’s stern, disapproving diaphragm thing.

Dave: As I’m watching it now, there are a few more chuckles than I remember previously.

Charlie Sweatpants: It’s nice and consistent too.

Even if there are some things that don’t work and/or go on too long, there aren’t a big stretches where there’s nothing decent.

A lot of these Season 11 episodes ("It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Marge", included) start decently and then go running off the cliff as things get weirder and zanier.

Mad Jon: I think my feelings for this episode got better as they kept adding more and more seasons afterwards.

Charlie Sweatpants: Why’s that?

Mad Jon: The first time I saw it I probably thought to myself that, hey that’s fine, a lampoon of a relatively popular behind the scenes TV show that I’ve seen a hundred episodes of. Hell, I wouldn’t know anything about Thin Lizzy if not for VH1.

As I got older and less stupid, I came to the realization that we have discussed so many, many times. This episode would have been a great series finale, as opposed to a decent season finale.

Charlie Sweatpants: Yeah, it would’ve.

  It could’ve been a bit meaner to itself, but that’s a tall order. On the other hand, for fans at least, it kind of is a series finale.

There’s classic Simpsons trivia nights in Chicago and Toronto now, and as far as I know they stop at Season 11 too.

Mad Jon: I’m not sure I could name any actual episode titles past this one.

  Although I imagine I could randomly assemble a few words, probably with one of the characters names, and be pretty close if not dead on.

It’s a matter of statistics at that point.

Charlie Sweatpants: Yeah, the road after this one is very long and very dark.

It’s like one of those photos of North and South Korea from space at night. The South is lit up like Christmas tree, and then there’s a really distinct line with just a few specs of light. This episode is the DMZ.

Mad Jon: That’s a pretty good analogy.

Dave: Yep, spot on.

Mad Jon: Back to things I enjoyed, I liked Bart as Renegade, along with his two side car sidekicks.

Charlie Sweatpants: The "I hear that Renegade" is one of those things I just can’t not smile at.

  There are a lot of good media parodies like that in this one.

Calling Krusty and "Embittered Comedy Legend", Bart’s fair weather friends, and Willie Nelson, taxpayer, are all pretty good.

Mad Jon: The subtitles in the interviews were generally good.

Charlie Sweatpants: And Jimmy Carter’s break dancing.

Mad Jon: Rapping comedy break dancing.

Charlie Sweatpants: And the "New Awareness Awards" being "an elaborate sham".

Dave: The fact that Bart and Richie Rich are best friends.

Charlie Sweatpants: For all the amusement though, a lot of it still feels kind of weak. Like the Grammy awards, which is funny with the categories and all, but they did that better way back in Season 5.

Mad Jon: Agreed. Also they had to throw in the obligatory Ozzie bites something…

I did like the early mention of going for frosty chocolate milkshakes. It made me want to watch Bart the Genius.

Charlie Sweatpants: Yeah, they do a decent job of creating a decent parody backstory.

That their network connection was that the president of FOX was also a hair dresser is a good example.

  It’s just close enough to true that it works as satire. For the most part, this episode toes that line well.

Mad Jon: For sure. I also can’t help but think about the narrator’s line about gimmicky premises and nonsensical plots. As well as the shameless trotting out of celebrities.

Mainly I can’t stop thinking about it because it hadn’t even really begun to start.

Charlie Sweatpants: And I’m forever grateful for the "This’ll be the last season" joke.

Mad Jon: It’s like talking about how you are worried about someone’s alcoholism when they haven’t even missed a mortgage payment yet.

Call me when you notice they are living in the dumpster, then you will know what the bottom looks like.

Charlie Sweatpants: Heh.

Mad Jon: Unless they had a guest list and episode guide for the next half decade already written by that point…. Which I dunno, maybe the computer spits them out that far in advance.

Charlie Sweatpants: Seems unlikely. Anything else about this one?

Mad Jon: Nah, other than the "this will be the last season" bit you already mentioned, I don’t have much else that sticks with me.

Dave: Not from me. It was certainly the more pleasant of the two to watch.

Charlie Sweatpants: It’s good for what it is, and by Season 11 standards, it’s very above average.

Well, gentlemen, ending on a so-so episode seems about right for this series of posts.

  WordPress tells me that this is the 153rd episode we’ve discussed over the past three and a half years.

Dave: That’s something.

Mad Jon: Where do the years go….

Charlie Sweatpants: I’d say about half of them are any good, though I may be overestimating.

Mad Jon: That has to be more episodes than most TV series run, and probably by a long shot.

Charlie Sweatpants: True. Sadly I don’t think syndication riches are in our future.

Mad Jon: I’ll give you half with a lazy scale of 2.

Charlie Sweatpants: Is lazy scale like degree of difficulty?

Mad Jon: Meh.

Charlie Sweatpants: Good answer.

Dave: Lazy scale, nice.

Charlie Sweatpants: Before we sign off here, any general thoughts on Season 8-11? It’s four seasons where I think every season is worse than the one that precedes it.

The drop off from 8 to 9 is noticeable as hell, but the one from 9 to 10 might be the biggest total.

Mad Jon: I’m happy I had the opportunity to parse the Alzheimer like demise with the two of you. I’ve seen all of these before, but to actually consider them in order really let me see what kind of slope this show was on. And more than that, it was an opportunity to see why.

Dave: Yeah, that seems accurate. There was no return to form or anything.

Charlie Sweatpants: I sat through at least part of every episode from Season 12 and 13 before I quit on the show, and there aren’t much in the way of highlights from here.

Mad Jon: There really aren’t

Charlie Sweatpants: Just catastrophes like that damned Africa episode.

Mad Jon: Sometimes I think of one or two, but much like a dream, it fades faster than I can do anything about it.

Dave: How poetic

Charlie Sweatpants: Well, then, fellows, I can end on the poetic. Honor and a pleasure and all that.

Dave: Smell you later.

Mad Jon: Thank you gentlemen.

19
Sep
12

Crazy Noises: It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Marge

It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Marge1

“Homer, look, we’re invited to Otto’s wedding.  Ooh, and such delicate tissue paper . . . huh, zigzag?” – Marge Simpson

For the fourth summer in a row, we here at the Dead Homer Society will be spending some time discussing twelve year old Simpsons episodes.  This year we’re doing Season 11.  Why Season 11?  Because we’ve done Seasons 8, 9 and 10 already, and it’s time to take an unflinching look at the end of the show.  Since Skype and podcasts didn’t exist in 1999, and we want to discuss these episodes the way the internet intended, we’re sticking with the UTF-8 world of chat rooms and instant messaging.  This text has been edited for clarity and spelling (surprisingly enough, not on “Cyanide”).

Charlie Sweatpants: Once more unto the breach, dear friends?

Dave: Brothers in arms and all that.

Charlie Sweatpants: Or, in this case, the chat?

Mad Jon: Let’s do it.

  It’s a Mad^4 Marge?

Charlie Sweatpants: Indeed.

This episode’s Wikipedia page says "The episode is notable for its poor reception among fans."

Mad Jon: Ha

  That’s funny

Dave: That seems like a cute understatement.

Charlie Sweatpants: I’ve never thought of this one as particularly notorious, but it is pretty bad.

Mad Jon: Yeah, it’s poor, but boring enough that it’s not one of my "oh god that’s awful" episodes.

It doesn’t offend me as much as it makes me not want to be around it.

Charlie Sweatpants: Good way to put it. By this point it’s more often than not that the episode is about as bad as this one. It doesn’t stand out anymore.

Mad Jon: There are plenty of offensive parts, don’t get me wrong. But I find my self just sort of waiting for it to end, or whatever it does.

I can’t really tell if there is one plot, with two smaller partial plots, or if it is two plots with an aside, or all one fluid deally. It’s hard for me to discern.

Charlie Sweatpants: It’s more straightforward than most of the episodes at this point in that the opening isn’t wildly different and unrelated to the rest of it.

Mad Jon: I guess it doesn’t really matter.

I did like the ring that Otto gave Becky.

Charlie Sweatpants: There are a surprising amount of good jokes in this one. Though, for the most part, they’re nearer to the front than the end.

Mad Jon: Such as the fixing a marriage through gentle nagging?

Charlie Sweatpants: Sort of, that scene’s a bit of a mixed bag.

Mad Jon: Indeed it is.

Charlie Sweatpants: I don’t like Marge’s little wedding magazine thing, it just seems too out of character, like they had these wedding magazine jokes and they’ve got to cram them in somewhere.

But on the whole, yeah, that’s a good example of something that’s sort of okay, except for the weird packaging around it.

Mad Jon: You know, I only have a couple of + signs this week. Mostly my notes are summaries of the action so that when we did this I didn’t get lost in the crap.

  I kind of think Wiggum was the highlight of the episode.

Charlie Sweatpants: The chase scene where Marge escapes from the uber stupid mental health hearing is very distracting.

But even amidst it, the sign on the library saying "We have books about TV" is fantastic.

Mad Jon: The chase scene does suck.

But Wiggum’s description of the powerlessness of the law makes me laugh. As well as the ice cream in his hand when he randomly shows up to arrest Marge.

Charlie Sweatpants: Yeah, Wiggum’s good, I just wish he’d shown up ten seconds earlier when Marge broke the cone but before that weird part where she’s swinging the cone and the show is playing this off like it’s Hitchcock or something.

Mad Jon: Fair enough

Charlie Sweatpants: My favorite part from this one may be Cyanide.

  They’ve only got two lines, and both of them are great.

Mad Jon: It was pretty funny

Charlie Sweatpants: At this point, I really appreciate a joke that doesn’t drag on.

Mad Jon: I have a hard time not busting out when the drummer asks for a ride.

Charlie Sweatpants: That one always gets me.

Mad Jon: The thing that I can’t believe I never noticed his how Homer is playing that knife game at the kitchen table in the very beginning for no apparent reason.

Dave: The episode is sort of a gentle, forgettable haze to me. Even as I’m watching it now.

Mad Jon: That’s a pretty good description

Charlie Sweatpants: I’d say that’s true up to the ice cream parlor or so. After that the craziness starts to take more time, get more serious, get stupider, and really aggravate me.

This is one I don’t even like to put on in the background when I’m doing something else.

Mad Jon: Why would you? There are 300 – odd other episodes that suck that are still better than this.

Charlie Sweatpants: That makes it like most of Season 11, though.

I wouldn’t say that many. There’s enough good jokes in here that I’d rank this one above pretty much anything from Season 12/13 or so.

Dave: That may be so, but it still doesn’t enter my regular rotation.

Charlie Sweatpants: Oh, not even close.

The next one, though, does sneak in every once and a while. Is there anything else here, or shall we move on to what coulda, woulda, shoulda, been the end of the show?

Mad Jon: I don’t have anything else productive to say. I am ready to put my back on the wall.

Charlie Sweatpants: Okay then, let’s do this one last time.

13
Sep
12

Crazy Noises: Last Tap Dance In Springfield

Last Tap Dance in Springfield1

“Okay, everyone, we need big smiles out there, so line up for dimpling.  Now, this may hurt a lot . . . what am I saying, ‘may’?” – Little Vicki

For the fourth summer in a row, we here at the Dead Homer Society will be spending some time discussing twelve year old Simpsons episodes.  This year we’re doing Season 11.  Why Season 11?  Because we’ve done Seasons 8, 9 and 10 already, and it’s time to take an unflinching look at the end of the show.  Since Skype and podcasts didn’t exist in 1999, and we want to discuss these episodes the way the internet intended, we’re sticking with the UTF-8 world of chat rooms and instant messaging.  This text has been edited for clarity and spelling (especially on “Revolucion”).

[Note: Dave couldn’t make it this week.]

Charlie Sweatpants: Onto more pleasant matters, it’s Little Vicki.

Mad Jon: Yay!

I most assuredly hate this one much much less.

Charlie Sweatpants: I as well. And I’m even willing to go so far as to say that, on balance, I think this one comes out ahead. Not by much, but I do like watching this one from time to time.

Mad Jon: It has some good parts. I especially like Little Vicki, and the Tango de la Muerte movie.

Charlie Sweatpants: Tango de la Muerte is mostly great, though it could’ve moved a bit swifter. Minor complaint though.

Mad Jon: Probably, but not at the expense of the dance partner selection and the "You are now carrying my child" bit.

Charlie Sweatpants: But how?

Mad Jon: I dunno, the constant interjection of the obvious by Lisa I suppose.

Charlie Sweatpants: Aw, come on, man! You’re supposed to say "It is the mystery of the dance."

Mad Jon: That would have been much better.

  Much better.

I was getting ready to explain that I can’t possibly be expected to defend any of my claims while still coming down from the last discussion.

Charlie Sweatpants: Yeah, the Florida episode isn’t something you can just shake off.

Mad Jon: The sign in front of the Tango competition was good too. "Tonight tango, Tomorrow: Revolucion!"

Charlie Sweatpants: There is a lot to like here, especially Vicki. She’s just wonderfully nuts.

Mad Jon: Couldn’t have been written much better. Now as a homework assignment, go back in the last few years and see if I’ve ever said that before.

Charlie Sweatpants: Not gonna be doing that.

Mad Jon: Especially the tapping out codes until my shoes filled with blood, or the bit about communism.

  Both very good.

Charlie Sweatpants: Indeed. I like "Now, this may hurt a lot".

  So cheerful, so insane.

Mad Jon: Rolling out the welcome mat for the Reds…. There is a lot she does for this one.

  I would have KILLED for Tappa Tappa Tappa.

Charlie Sweatpants: I even don’t hate the B-plot here. It’s one of the last times I thought the show did Loony Tunes style comedy well, with Wiggum the primary star.

Mad Jon: Also pretty good.

  Not a lot of insanity to get them to the mall, not like they would do nowadays.

  A little bit of child endangerment? Sure. A few giant leaps of faith? I can see that. But all in all, a workable setup

Charlie Sweatpants: The mountain lion chase could’ve been dropped, and it didn’t make sense how Bart and Milhouse kept getting surprised by the store closing and them getting found out.

But Wiggum’s got enough good lines here that, again, on the whole I think it comes out ahead.

Mad Jon: Nah, that seems like something even a 10 year old would have planned a bit better. But I can live with it.

  Wiggum does have some good ones too.

Charlie Sweatpants: The worst part of the episode is how long the self-tapping shoes scene takes at the end, but, like the mountain lion, there’s enough good stuff going on around it that I don’t mind.

Mad Jon: I think, minus the whole crusty eye Homer thing that goes away, the only continuity issue that really struck me was the scene where they recital is beginning, then Lisa leaves to visit Frink, and then they are back at the recital.

Charlie Sweatpants: It’s a little herky-jerky, to be sure.

But the recital itself is mostly great. "Lean, muscular children of Mars", and Little Vicki generally being lots of fun.

Mad Jon: Would have fit in many seasons ago.

  And again, Vicky was just, just great.

Mad Jon: She did once destroy Buddy Ebsen’s credit rating.

Charlie Sweatpants: She did. The episode does have a Season 9 feel to it.

Mad Jon: I can see Season 9.

Charlie Sweatpants: Though I think my favorite is "Little advice: don’t live through your child." Coming from a Shirley Temple stand-in, that’s just wonderfully brutal.

Mad Jon: And surprisingly pre-Tiger Mom epidemic.

Charlie Sweatpants: Also true.

Mad Jon: At least I assume. I wasn’t really tuned into the world in the early aughts.

Charlie Sweatpants: Again, this one has problems. The whole Homer and Marge pressuring her to be more girly thing gets raised and never explored, and this is when Frink is crossing the line from funny to annoying plot device, and there are a lot of things that don’t quite follow from one to the other, but there are some original and memorable Simpsons stuff here. Like Vicki trying to encourage Lisa by telling her she needs to save Grampa’s farm.

And that guy saying, "As your wise, but alcoholic dance instructor. . ."

Mad Jon: Agreed. I am generally happy with what’s happening, especially for the season we’re in. But there are still plenty of zombie issues, one we have yet to cite being that the episode ends with homer being needlessly electrocuted.

Charlie Sweatpants: It does, but I can’t hate this one. It’s one of the last episodes I ever watch regularly.

Mad Jon: Yeah, you’re probably right about that. There isn’t really anything coming down the pipe, in like, forever from here.

Charlie Sweatpants: Not much, no.

Mad Jon: Funny how these chats don’t take nearly as long when I don’t want to kill myself. You’d think after a few years it would be the other way around.

Charlie Sweatpants: Well, the first half was pretty bad. Maybe you just recover faster now?

Mad Jon: That’s reasonable, I guess.

12
Sep
12

Crazy Noises: Kill the Alligator and Run

Kill the Alligator and Run1

“Florida?  But that’s America’s wang.” – Homer Simpson

For the fourth summer in a row, we here at the Dead Homer Society will be spending some time discussing twelve year old Simpsons episodes.  This year we’re doing Season 11.  Why Season 11?  Because we’ve done Seasons 8, 9 and 10 already, and it’s time to take an unflinching look at the end of the show.  Since Skype and podcasts didn’t exist in 1999, and we want to discuss these episodes the way the internet intended, we’re sticking with the UTF-8 world of chat rooms and instant messaging.  This text has been edited for clarity and spelling (but not on “clusterfucktastic”, which is my new favorite word).

[Note: Dave couldn’t make it this week.]

Mad Jon: So, you ready to get this shitshow going?

Charlie Sweatpants: Oh, let’s.

Mad Jon: Kill the alligator and run?

Charlie Sweatpants: Since I already had to suffer through watching it, yes, let the catharsis begin.

Mad Jon: Excellent. I would like to begin by complaining about the parking cone hat man.

Charlie Sweatpants: Gotta start somewhere.

Mad Jon: I used to think this one was relatively watchable, then I realized that every time I watched it, I was either fucked up or doing something else.

Because when you really sit down to pay attention, I don’t think there are many other episodes in seasons before or recently after this one, that Homer is less of a detriment.

Charlie Sweatpants: How do you mean?

Mad Jon: I’m glad you asked.

Between the quiz master bit, the insanity bridge, and the perpetual spring break, Homer could not have been more of a zombie character.

Additionally, unlike recent episodes, such as the missionary one, the background characters do absolutely nothing but set him up even further.

There is no other focus, no boundaries, (other than Marge futilely tying him to the bed) to offset his insanity

  He actually asks his therapist why his baby isn’t gaining weight.

Charlie Sweatpants: So you’re saying that since the rest of the episode is as bad as he is, Jerkass Homer can’t do much damage to something that’s already a wasteland?

Mad Jon: No, I am saying that this time everyone steps back and lets him salt the earth.

I am not saying the rest of the episode wasn’t terrible, because it was. I am just saying that usually there is at least a semblance of an obstacle.

  And I don’t count the sheriff here, because he only makes it worse. And he drags Joe C down with him.

  There is a scene in this one where Homer drinks from the giant 40oz and actually says, “All for Homer, All for Homer.”

Charlie Sweatpants: There is.

Mad Jon: How… no. I was going to ask how he got up there when the bouncers instantly stopped him from helping what he thought was a lost child. But I’ve decided against it.

  Sorry… I had to get that off my chest.

Charlie Sweatpants: All valid points.

  Except that I’ve always hated this one with a bright and burning passion.

Mad Jon: You are apparently a better man than I.

Charlie Sweatpants: I can’t be 100% sure of this, but I’m pretty confident that I’ve only even seen this one twice before, the first time it aired and then again on syndication once and only once. Today was the third time, and I have no desire for there to ever be a fourth.

Mad Jon: No. You should definitely avoid this one.

Like I said, I must have never been paying attention, or my brain was distracted by the joys of youth, because this is the first time I feel I was actually paying attention, and I am worse off for it.

Charlie Sweatpants: The only semi-memorable thing here, other than “America’s Wang”, is that it somehow manages to consistently get weirder and more boring as it goes.

  You’d think by the time you get to the family being surrounded by a ring of fire after having been put on a chain gang, you’d be numb.

And yet, then the alligator comes walking out a building where he apparently was, and the show manages to hit a new note of “what the fuck?”.

Mad Jon: Or “we never cared in the first place.” One or the other.

This is of course, after the family celebrates their survival of a high speed train crash by taking a nap.

  I think someone was pulling ‘action cards’ out of a hat by that point.

Writer 1: “How can we make train crash and group nap fit in the same 30 second clip?”

Writer 2: “Watch and learn rookie!”

Charlie Sweatpants: Ugh, that may not be far off.

Mad Jon: Writer 3:”Oooh, I promised my mom we’d work ‘We built this city’ in somewhere…”

Writer 2: “Waaayyy ahead of you.”

The only + sign I have in my notes is next to “America’s Wang”, as you mentioned earlier. I literally have nothing else positive to say.

Charlie Sweatpants: Yeah, that was pretty much it for the positive column.

  Even without the increasingly batshit story, there just wasn’t anything at all decent or funny going on.

I mean, when you have lines like Kid Rock saying “Yo, let’s waste that beyotch”, the writing can’t be much worse, even in theory.

Mad Jon: What gets me the most, is that most of the episodes we hate from this season have at least a few lines that remain quotable. I just don’t see that here.

Charlie Sweatpants: And on top of that, all the set pieces are just awful. They can’t even have Homer pull over without dragging it out.

Mad Jon: Or get a job without trying to kill his new employer seconds later, or drive a boat without getting his kids to party, or take a quiz without thinking he’s going to die… it goes on from here.

Charlie Sweatpants: And on and on and on, individual scenes take forever, jokes take forever, even the fucking plot twists take forever as we have to have two entire scenes of them getting arrested.

Mad Jon: That’s right. Two.

Charlie Sweatpants: The Kid Rock concert, as you mentioned, makes no damn sense and drags out, what, four times, longer than it needed to?

Mad Jon: About that.

  It just, kept, going.

Charlie Sweatpants: And there’s Homer’s multiple freak outs at the beginning, each of which seems to take longer than the last.

Mad Jon: A pink shirt landed him in the loony bin once, and this gets him a trip to Florida.

Again, clusterfucktastic.

He was trying to breast feed a plastic doll.

Charlie Sweatpants: He was. And that scene features one of those awful details where you wonder if they’re being malicious or if they just don’t care.

I’m speaking, of course, of Burns going through what appears to be an honest inspection before sleeping bag Homer shows up.

  That’s the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant, that it is filled from stem to stern with hideous safety violations is one of its most endearing features.

Mad Jon: Yeah, Burns wasn’t even trying to bribe the government official.

  What is this world coming to?

Charlie Sweatpants: Well, they needed that time to have each Simpson patiently explain which diner job they were getting and why.

  Where would it be without those?

Mad Jon: Fair enough.

Charlie Sweatpants: And there are so many damn repeats here, Homer freaking out about being mortal is just one of them.

The whole opening is a half-assed redo of the Reading Digest opening from “Mr. Lisa Goes to Washington”. They struck up Louie-Louie for the second time only this time it was unironic, and there was Homer speeding past the train, which was done without the goofy suspense in “Homer the Heretic”.

Mad Jon: Plus: Plant safety inspection that outs Homer, family takes on new existence to escape peril, and Homer gets involved in a music festival.

Charlie Sweatpants: This episode is as bad as anything the show has done in the last four seasons. (Well, maybe not anything, but still.)

Mad Jon: The anything is definitely debatable.

But that’s not a positive thing, now is it?

Charlie Sweatpants:  No, it is not a positive thing.

It features every problem Zombie Simpsons has, tramples on older, better episodes, and has a plot that resolves itself when an alligator comes back from the fucking dead.

They spun themselves into such a tizzy that they barely made fun of one of America’s most mockable states. That alone should’ve gotten this show cancelled around this time.

Anything else here?

Mad Jon: No. I am ready to move on.

I can’t even think of a witty transition. That’s what this episode has done to me.

06
Sep
12

Crazy Noises: Days of Wine and D’Ohses

Days of Wine and D'Ohses1

“Looky here, cardy-board tubes!” – Cletus
“Now we can have indoor plumbing, just like they’s got at the women’s lockup.” – Brandine
“They spoilt you, Brandine.  Sometimes I don’t even know who you are anymore.” – Cletus

For the fourth summer in a row, we here at the Dead Homer Society will be spending some time discussing twelve year old Simpsons episodes.  This year we’re doing Season 11.  Why Season 11?  Because we’ve done Seasons 8, 9 and 10 already, and it’s time to take an unflinching look at the end of the show.  Since Skype and podcasts didn’t exist in 1999, and we want to discuss these episodes the way the internet intended, we’re sticking with the UTF-8 world of chat rooms and instant messaging.  This text has been edited for clarity and spelling (especially on “morose”).

Charlie Sweatpants: Ah, sweet liquor eases the pain.

Mad Jon: As painful as it was, at least this one had two actual plot lines.

Charlie Sweatpants: Neither of which I can stomach sober.

Mad Jon: That seems to becoming rather uncommon in this season.

No one is asking you to like them.

Charlie Sweatpants: I’d be hard pressed to declare this the worst episode in Season 11, there are a lot of contenders, but this one is as bad as Zombie Simpsons gets.

Mad Jon: It does have a lot of the major characteristics eh?

Charlie Sweatpants: Oh boy, does it.

Mad Jon: Extreme and maybe even permanent character change? Homer tagging along at all costs, more physical comedy attempts than word count…

Charlie Sweatpants: All that an more.

If possible, I’d like to work backwards here.

Mad Jon:  Let’s do it.

Charlie Sweatpants: Both the ending with Barney and the coffee and the ending with Marge pretending to have given away the bike are pointless filler because the actual ending left the original plot threads completely unresolved.

The major conflict is a forest fire that doesn’t break out until the sixteen minute mark, and once it finally does, half of what happens next contradicts things we just saw.

Mad Jon: So you are saying they saw a crack in the dike and tried to stick some gum in it?

Ha, I spelled it dike.

Charlie Sweatpants: This wasn’t a crack, this was more like trying to build a dam out of leaves and old newspaper.

Then setting it all on fire when it didn’t work.

Mad Jon: Yes well, you have always been the wordsmith.

Charlie Sweatpants: Barney suddenly can’t fly at all and is tempted by alcohol for no reason, and Bart and Lisa get trapped even though we saw them walking away before the fire started.

Homer can apparently fall out of the helicopter and rescue his kids.

Mad Jon: I do recall being curious how they got trapped by a fire that started when they left.

Charlie Sweatpants: There was a bear, briefly.

Mad Jon: Who also escaped the fire although he was in the middle of it.

Charlie Sweatpants: And, to make everything super fucking annoying, all of it is played for suspense. Like we’re supposed to take the rescue seriously when Homer just flipped the helicopter over and Barney can land on a bridge.

Mad Jon: G-forces have no effect on severe alcoholics? I don’t know.

Charlie Sweatpants: But they did hold onto the camera. I mean, someone thought that part was important.

I cannot, in any way shape or form, understand how anyone who could’ve remembered that part could also sign off on the rest of the fucking thing.

Mad Jon: That was their crowning achievement.

Charlie Sweatpants: I feel like Hugh trying to enjoy the Simpson family . . . nothing works. There is no conceivable level on which even a tiny bit of this works.

Mad Jon: Sure there is, you have to be 6.

Maybe 5. I dunno.

Charlie Sweatpants: Going further back from that, we get Homer and Barney fighting like some kind of teenage couple, which comes out of nowhere, happens painfully slowly and obviously, and then goes away.

Mad Jon: I have that in my notes as “awkward encounter between Homer and Barney”

Charlie Sweatpants: Childish Jerkass Homer is just as aggravating and entertainment free as regular Jerkass Homer.

Mad Jon: Homer is pretty unbearable throughout this one.

Charlie Sweatpants: Only Sober Barney here is way, way, way less fun than Sober Barney in “Deep Space Homer”, and even that little part of “A Star Is Burns”.

Or “City of New York vs. Homer Simpson”.

When did Barney – of all the characters on this show – become an overly sensitive asshole?

Mad Jon: It was reminiscent of Barney from “City of New York vs…”, he was panicky and slightly mean, but at least he had a good line. And the scene was better, and it ended as soon as possible.

Charlie Sweatpants: Going before that, why was there that odd, and quickly dropped, subplot about Homer being the new Barney?

Did they make Barney dance?

Mad Jon: I don’t remember that ever happening. And I would have to go back through years of tape to figure out where he normally sat, but I would guess it was relatively random.

Charlie Sweatpants: I recognize that the gang at Moe’s has come a long way from the recognizably blue collar bar Burns wanted to go slumming in, but these guys have stopped acting the least bit human.

Mad Jon: They are where they need to be when they need to be there. At least according to the writers.

Who are not in the right here…

Charlie Sweatpants: I don’t think they’re in the right, but that does imply that they made any coherent decisions during the making of this episode, which is a contention I can find no evidence to support.

I mean, they inserted a rubber ball bouncing noise when Bart threw the camera on the ground. What the hell was that?

Mad Jon: Oh yeah.

Charlie Sweatpants: That’s what I’m talking about when I say they’re just seeing how much they can not care and still get paid.

Mad Jon: Where are we in the backwards progression?

My notes suggest lots of horns.

Charlie Sweatpants: I’d say were about to Homer taking Barney to AA for some reason, but I’m happy to skip that and go right to the beginning where Barney, in contrast to everything we’ve ever seen from him ever, becomes a morose drunk.

Nobody remembered my birthday? From a man who openly admits that the years after he got out of the service are kind of a blur?

No. Ten thousand cocktails no.

Mad Jon: Can’t imagine it. But here we are.

I have never paid attention, but this sobriety thing comes and goes for like the next decade, eh?

But again, I’ve asked too much.

Charlie Sweatpants: It does, but that’s like worrying about twitching or evacuation after the corpse is already dead.

Shit, literally, happens.

Mad Jon: Well put.

Charlie Sweatpants: I really hate this episode, is all.

It was as unnecessary as it was unfunny.

Mad Jon: That is correct. It was both of those things. Although I did like the scene where Barney was harassing Lisa with the planets for foreigners. Mainly just that one cut though.

Charlie Sweatpants: Feh. It’s no “Mr. Gumble, this is a Girl Scout meeting.”

Mad Jon: That was much better.

But that’s about it, I can’t think of anything that wasn’t making me count the seconds until it was over. And that includes the beginning that we haven’t mentioned. Albeit short.

Charlie Sweatpants: The garbage thing?

Mad Jon: Yes that thing.

Charlie Sweatpants: I almost forgot about that, but then, so did the episode.

Mad Jon: I don’t even know what kind of context to put it in my mind.

Charlie Sweatpants: Garbage seems appropriate.

Alright, anything else here? My hate neurons are dry firing at this point. They need rest.

Mad Jon: I really have nothing else.

Dave: I’ve said nothing and I’m spent.

Mad Jon: And you are a better man for it.

Charlie Sweatpants: Honestly, for all my vitriol and Jon’s contempt, Dave’s silence is maybe the only comment this episode deserves.

The sooner the world forgets it ever happened, the better off it’ll be.

Dave: Pretty much.

Charlie Sweatpants: You clever bastard.

Dave: Why thank you.

05
Sep
12

Crazy Noises: Bart to the Future

Bart to the Future1

“When we’re finished, we can go through Bill Clinton’s porno stash.” – Bart Simpson

For the fourth summer in a row, we here at the Dead Homer Society will be spending some time discussing twelve year old Simpsons episodes.  This year we’re doing Season 11.  Why Season 11?  Because we’ve done Seasons 8, 9 and 10 already, and it’s time to take an unflinching look at the end of the show.  Since Skype and podcasts didn’t exist in 1999, and we want to discuss these episodes the way the internet intended, we’re sticking with the UTF-8 world of chat rooms and instant messaging.  This text has been edited for clarity and spelling (especially on “noticeable”).

Mad Jon: You guys ready to start the first one?

Dave: Sure, why not?

Charlie Sweatpants: Yeah, let’s dive in.

Not to start things on too much of a downer or anything, but this episode is really tough to watch and has almost no redeeming value. I’d basically forgotten it existed, and I am eager to return to that state.

Mad Jon: Yeah, I not a huge fan of the episodes that go to the future as such.

Dave: Too many future jokes, most dull and uninspired.

Signal:Noise bad.

Charlie Sweatpants: Good way to put it.

What’s really striking is how lame this future is compared to the one in Lisa’s Wedding.

Mad Jon: I wonder how much of that is due to the time frame.

But I wholeheartedly agree.

Lisa’s wedding is only, what, 12 years in the future? This one adds another 20+.

Charlie Sweatpants: Yeah, but shouldn’t that give them more license and made it easier?

Mad Jon: Yes. But it makes it harder for us to deal with. They could have gone anywhere with the age, but kept it simple, and I still hate it.

Charlie Sweatpants: I don’t think they could’ve or would’ve done anything with it, but there’s just as little thought put into the setting here as there is to the story.

Mad Jon: If they would have gone nuts with the future, it would have been worse.

Charlie Sweatpants: Probably.

But they’re the ones who set it in the future, and so when they basically ignore that, it makes the episode even less fun to watch.

Mad Jon: I can buy that.

For sure.

Charlie Sweatpants: And there’s the big, giant, in your ear problem that both Bart and Ralph have their normal goddamn voices the whole time.

Mad Jon: Yeah, that was quite noticeable.

Charlie Sweatpants: I’m sure someone on staff had watched “Lisa’s Wedding”, Cartwright might have even remembered doing the lower Bart voice for the future there. It really shows how little they cared by this time.

Mad Jon: More of a “get it done and let’s go drinking” mentality.

Charlie Sweatpants: Very much so.

Mad Jon: As long as we are discussing laziness.

I would like to address how Marge, Homer, and Maggie’s kid Maggie are automatically at the White House.

Charlie Sweatpants: There was that.

Mad Jon: Bart gets the idea to mooch off of his sister, who I guess he just found out was president? He makes the move to go there, and the family lives there too?

After Bart just asked them for cash at home?

Charlie Sweatpants: It makes very, very little sense.

Mad Jon: How about that Bart and Ralph are bottom barrel broke, but live on the water?

Dave: Because why not.

Charlie Sweatpants: Apparently in some kind of tropical area, too.

Mad Jon: Apparently so.

Charlie Sweatpants: To the same point, Bart just walks into the White House and has the run of the place.

I don’t think there’s a single scene in the future that makes sense even just within itself.

Mad Jon: And is able to march into a meeting of various world leaders untouched as well.

Charlie Sweatpants: Around the future thing, there isn’t any sense to the Indian casino guy taking Bart on his little vision quest either.

Mad Jon: Doesn’t seem like a good use of his time, does it?

Charlie Sweatpants: It doesn’t. More importantly, they really dropped the ball on making fun of Indian casinos, which are among the most depressing places you can ever visit.

All they did was haul out some (mostly) lame Indian jokes. Ha ha, he’s got “crazy” in his name.

Though I did like the one about the linen service having broken many promises. That at least had some originality to it. Most of it? Zilch.

Mad Jon: Yeah, I haven’t spent much time in Indian casinos, but I imagine there was some pretty good material to be had.

Instead they have Bart on his own, for some reason, and a guy making 100k a minute using a vision to advertise his casino to a 10-year-old.

Charlie Sweatpants: There isn’t anything in this episode that doesn’t feel slapped together in, like you said, a “get it done and let’s go drinking” kind of way.

Mad Jon: The only thing I liked was the first Kearny explanation of the three secret murders. But they couldn’t leave it at that.

Wait, also I liked the Rod and Todd thing too.

Short and sweet.

Charlie Sweatpants: But even that made no sense.

They’re just there?

Mad Jon: No sense indeed, but a good visual gag of the two 40 yr old men with mustaches.

Charlie Sweatpants: Fair enough. In terms of things they couldn’t just drop, the park ranger saying that the bugs are “firmly in charge” is funny, then they take his ring . . . and then they take his hand. What the fuck?

Mad Jon: Yeah, again the normal ‘take things one to three steps too far’ was abound.

Count me not surprised.

And for that matter, consider my opinion of the ending along the same terms.

Charlie Sweatpants: Hey, we might not have gotten it through our thick skulls that Bart can deal with creditors the first four times.

Mad Jon: But we used to be cool!

Ok, we all agree that this one is terrible bordering upon criminal, correct? Anyone have anything else to add before we move on?

Charlie Sweatpants: I dunno, “first straight female president” was kinda funny, as was Clinton’s porn stash, but we’ve barely even mentioned that idiotic B-plot, which even they were a little ashamed of.

Mad Jon: Oh yeah, forgot about Lincoln’s gold.

Sorry to jump the gun.

Charlie Sweatpants: I don’t really need to delve into those if you guys don’t, though. This script should’ve been thrown into the sea.

Mad Jon: I did like Clinton’s stash. By the way, was Uter at the council of coolness?

Charlie Sweatpants: I dunno. I could check in less time than it’ll take me to finish typing this sentence, but I’m not going to.

Mad Jon: Probably for the best.

Charlie Sweatpants: Yeah, Dave anything?

Dave: Hey, sorry. Distracted, nothing from me.

Charlie Sweatpants: Okay, let’s run far away from this episode and . . . oh, crap, the next one is the one where Barney quits drinking, isn’t it?

Mad Jon: Yes. Unfortunately you are correct.

Charlie Sweatpants: Okay, let’s get started. I’m going to get the whisky.

Mad Jon: Thank God.

Dave: Let’s see how drunk we can get.

22
Aug
12

Crazy Noises: Pygmoelian

Pygmoelian2

“First, we must install buttocks.” – Plastic Surgeon
“Nah, nah, nah, no luxury items, just the face.” – Moe
“Okay, I’m gonna move this up . . . this, wider . . . I’m gonna lose that . . . I’ve never even seen one of these.” – Plastic Surgeon

For the fourth summer in a row, we here at the Dead Homer Society will be spending some time discussing twelve year old Simpsons episodes.  This year we’re doing Season 11.  Why Season 11?  Because we’ve done Seasons 8, 9 and 10 already, and it’s time to take an unflinching look at the end of the show.  Since Skype and podcasts didn’t exist in 1999, and we want to discuss these episodes the way the internet intended, we’re sticking with the UTF-8 world of chat rooms and instant messaging.  This text has been edited for clarity and spelling (surprisingly enough, not on “animatronic”).

Today’s episode is 1116, “Pygmoelian”.  Yesterday was 1115, “Missionary Impossible”.

Charlie Sweatpants: This episode also manages to feature a half a B-plot.

Mad Jon: Yep.

Charlie Sweatpants: Though, in this case, it’s all because they wanted to make gay Republican jokes, which weren’t all bad.

Mad Jon: No they weren’t.

Charlie Sweatpants: The setup was incredibly long, but “We’re realistic” about 2084 is funny.

Mad Jon: I have not seen this episode in forever, but I still remembered some of the gay Republican lines. So that’s saying something.

Dave: Yeah, still worth a chuckle today.

Charlie Sweatpants: The main plot, though, is a bit of a mess.

It admits it at the end in mercifully quick fashion, but once Moe starts working in soap operas, things just go from dumb to dumber.

Mad Jon: Yeah, and Homer is there to tag along every step of the way. Especially if that step involves throwing a brick or lighting a TV set on fire.

…In one of two scenes where he is apparently allowed on set and nobody stops him.

Charlie Sweatpants: That was even dumber when Moe just walked on set to demand the job that just happened to be open.

Mad Jon: And why did Homer have to be the one to deliver the calendars?

Dave: I found that really obnoxious, and I’m not sure why.

Mad Jon: Other than the B plot, is there a scene he is not in?

Dave: Maybe it was that moment of pointless pacing around before Homer (why?) shows up.

Charlie Sweatpants: At this point in the show, whenever Homer’s not on screen all the other characters are looking around and asking “Where’s Homer?”, so you’ve just kinda go numb to a lot of it.

In between Jerkass Homer, Azaria gets in some great lines as both Moe and the plastic surgeon.

Mad Jon: The surgeon was pretty good.

Charlie Sweatpants: He was, and Moe got in some good ones too, like “diseases of the head holes”.

Mad Jon: Funny indeed.

I also liked the drunk simulator, especially “Now you’re charming!”

Charlie Sweatpants: I like the animatronic robots. You think you’re better than me?

Of course, all that stuff has to be carefully observed while Homer is throwing bricks and walking onto what are apparently live soap opera shows.

Mad Jon: Yeah, didn’t mind Duff Days too much. Just how they got there. They could have just gone.

That’s right, it was indeed a live soap opera, onto which any old idiot can walk while wearing a homemade angel costume.

Also, I get that Homer doesn’t really have a job anymore, but do the kids still go to school?

Dave: Maybe?

Charlie Sweatpants: Not that I can tell, and at this point Lisa was basically only ever at school to interact with Skinner or Ralph or someone. Miss Hoover’s actual class is gone at this point.

There’s also no distinction between events and actions that I, the audience member, am supposed to think are real and those that aren’t.

Moe and Homer eventually get taken by soap opera security, right? But since there hadn’t been any security at all up to that point, it leaves the entire thing feeling not just goofy and improbable, but flat out impossible.

Mad Jon: Yeah, and like you mentioned earlier, they point it out at the end. But in my opinion that was more of a cop for the lack of an ending again.

Charlie Sweatpants: It was, but at least it was short.

Mad Jon: True enough.

Charlie Sweatpants: The other thing that bugs me here is that Springfield is now apparently host to a wildly popular soap opera, Duffman, and a high rise with gay Republicans in it.

Springfield increasingly feels like no place in these episodes.

That said, “It Never Ends” with the tagline “Like the cleaning of a house” is a damn funny soap opera title.

Mad Jon: I also liked the sign at Duff Days “A lost weekend for the Family”

They were still pretty solid with things like signs and titles and what not at this point.

Charlie Sweatpants: There were some good toss off jokes too, “Daddy I’m stealing” and “TV-ugly, not ugly ugly”.

Dave: Those were cute.

Mad Jon: Yeah, I liked the TV ugly thing.

Charlie Sweatpants: Things like that keep me from hating this episode too much. It doesn’t make sense, but it’s not a giant volcano racist lava pit or whatever.

Mad Jon: I liked this one more than the missionary one. But perhaps like is the wrong word. I hated this one less.

Dave: I was going to say, “like” seems a bit strong.

Mad Jon: I still won’t be putting it in the queue anytime soon.

Dave: Truth.

Charlie Sweatpants: Yeah, I can’t say that this one gets watched with any frequency by me, but at the same time, I get slightly less nauseous when I think about it the way I do with many of these other ones.

Between Azaria’s deliveries (I’ve been meaning to get that updated, for this state, and real) and some good one offs and signs, this is definitely above average for Season 11.

Mad Jon: Yeah, It probably would have been even better if they wouldn’t have insisted on shoving Homer into every damn scene. But overall I am in agreement, better than average, some good things, some things not so good, some things very angering.

Charlie Sweatpants: Well put, Lrrr from Omicron Persei 8.

21
Aug
12

Crazy Noises: Missionary Impossible

Missionary Impossible1

“Oh, save me, Jebus!” – Homer Simpson

For the fourth summer in a row, we here at the Dead Homer Society will be spending some time discussing twelve year old Simpsons episodes.  This year we’re doing Season 11.  Why Season 11?  Because we’ve done Seasons 8, 9 and 10 already, and it’s time to take an unflinching look at the end of the show.  Since Skype and podcasts didn’t exist in 1999, and we want to discuss these episodes the way the internet intended, we’re sticking with the UTF-8 world of chat rooms and instant messaging.  This text has been edited for clarity and spelling (especially on “amalgamation”).

Today’s episode is 1115, “Missionary Impossible”.  Tomorrow will be 1116, “Pygmoelian”.

A Brief Note on “Jebus”: As discussed below, this episode is illogical, racist, and really terrible in a lot of ways, but it did give the world “Jebus”, a fantastic term that has spread far and wide in the years since it first appeared.  I’ve seen it used in more publications and by more people than perhaps any other creation of the show outside of “D’oh” and “Worst/Best. [Blank]. Ever.”.  That said, I am mystified as to why it is sometimes spelled with two “e”s, “Jeebus”.  There’s even a guy quoted in this episode’s Wikipedia article spelling it that way.  I’m not king of words or anything, and my own spelling is atrocious enough that I am in no position to cast stones or point at the mote in my brother’s eye (as it were), I just don’t see why you’d spell it that way when it’s pronounced exactly like the original word. 

Charlie Sweatpants: Shall we get to it, then?

Mad Jon: Let’s.

Dave: Yes, let’s.

Mad Jon: Missionary Impossible?

Charlie Sweatpants: I have a very simple opinion on this episode: it sucks . . . but it gave the word "Jebus", and that is worth the rest of it.

Dave: Jebus is a wonderful thing

  Otherwise this episode doesn’t register at all

Mad Jon: It’s like a travel episode where they forgot to bring the rest of the family.

That’s two strikes right there.

  Although I thought the PBS pledge drive had a few ups.

Charlie Sweatpants: Structurally, it is a complete mess, and the weirdness ebbs and flows like a toilet tank that hasn’t been given enough time to properly refill between flushes.

Mad Jon: But for me, the rest was kind of a random amalgamation of events loosely structured around Homer teaching the natives to be Homer.

…So I basically agree with you.

Charlie Sweatpants: You’re just relaxing after the whole Bart-as-Homer thing, and then it’s time for a giant earthquake/volcano/whatever.

Mad Jon: You mean the end?

Charlie Sweatpants: Yeah.

Mad Jon: Where everyone died but Betty White?

Charlie Sweatpants: What I mean is that this one goes back and forth between being kinda calm and then turning into something approximating a Halloween episode, and it does this like every thirty seconds.

One minute, Homer and the non-denominational-"microasians" are working together to build a chapel . . . then Homer rings a bell so loud it opens up the earth beneath them.

Dave: I find "microasians" offensive, btw.

Charlie Sweatpants: I don’t blame you. About halfway through I was trying to figure out if this episode was more or less racist because they invented the least inventive fictional place ever.

Dave: I think that makes it more racist.

  They couldn’t be bothered to be creative.

Charlie Sweatpants: It almost feels like one of those Bugs Bunny cartoons they can’t show on TV anymore. Like, here’s all the stereotypes at once, but it’s okay because we’re the Simpsons and so it’s not serious.

There’s no way they would’ve done something that clumsy two or three seasons before this.

Mad Jon: So, does that bother you more or less than the "B" microplot?

  You know, the one that started and that’s all.

Charlie Sweatpants: You mean Bart becoming Homer and then nothing happening except one of the worst Burns scenes up to this point?

Mad Jon: That’s it all right.

  I was pretty unhappy with that whole thing.

It made me look not lazy. And that is a feat, my friend.

Charlie Sweatpants: It was astonishing that it was what they went with to give the rest of the family something to do. I thought it was just a little joke to be tossed off by Homer on the radio, but they actually made it a plot. I guess the toaster going to daycare was cut for time.

  In between blundering from one "wait, what the fuck is going on?" moment to another, it also stretches a lot of jokes.

The PBS thing at the beginning is the perfect example, and that’s before you get to all the characters chasing Homer down the street.

  Just that opening with the fake PBS show tacks on way longer than what amounts to the exact same joke at the beginning of "Marge on the Lam".

Mad Jon: Agreed.

Charlie Sweatpants: Crude British sitcoms, okay fine, but it’s not a good enough idea to take up all that time.

Mad Jon: But I did kind of like the pledge enforcement van.

Charlie Sweatpants: Perfect example. Pledge enforcement is kinda funny.

Mad Jon: I could have done without everyone that was ever born chasing homer however, as you have pointed out.

Charlie Sweatpants: Right. And even then it doesn’t make sense.

Homer gets chased by magical and fictional characters . . . who for some reason lose track of him in the church . . . even though we saw Oscar and Elmo chase him into the fucking church.

  Even if you grant that scene all of its fantastic characters, it still doesn’t make sense.

Mad Jon: At that point it was just moving the plot along, but whatever. We have to get Homer somewhere that he can lick toads and corrupt recently Christianized natives somehow.

Charlie Sweatpants: But it did give us Jebus.

Mad Jon: But it did give us Jebus, that is correct.

Dave: Jebus, woo!

Charlie Sweatpants: And there are a couple of other decent little jokes scattered about, "the gift of shame", and I’ve always kinda liked the no-nonsense brutality of the pelican just falling over, but Jebus is so wonderfully versatile that it blows everything else away here.

Mad Jon: Agreed, Also I forgot about the gift of shame, which is hilarious. Mainly because of my Catholic wife’s constant handwringings.

Charlie Sweatpants: Betty White also gets in a couple of decent lines when she’s talking about how much she hates thieves. But the chase scene, and the collection scene, and even that bit at the end with the FOX telethon drag on, so even she doesn’t come out ahead.

Anything else here, or should we move on to Moe’s new face?

Mad Jon: I got nothing else, let’s get while the gettin’s good.

Charlie Sweatpants: Thank Jebus.

02
Aug
12

Crazy Noises: Alone Again Natura-Diddily

Alone Again, Natura-Diddly1

“While our organist is on a much needed vacation, we thought we’d try something new, so get down and put your knees together for the Christian rock stylings of . . . Kovenant!” – Reverend Lovejoy

For the fourth summer in a row, we here at the Dead Homer Society will be spending some time discussing twelve year old Simpsons episodes.  This year we’re doing Season 11.  Why Season 11?  Because we’ve done Seasons 8, 9 and 10 already, and it’s time to take an unflinching look at the end of the show.  Since Skype and podcasts didn’t exist in 1999, and we want to discuss these episodes the way the internet intended, we’re sticking with the UTF-8 world of chat rooms and instant messaging.  This text has been edited for clarity and spelling (especially on “solemn”).

Today’s episode is 1114, “Alone Again Natura-Diddily”.  Yesterday was 1113, “Saddlesore Galactica”. 

[Note: Dave couldn’t make it again this week.  I’m beginning to think this “job” of his is just an excuse not to watch Season 11.]

Mad Jon: I know we always talk about how off Maude’s voice is this season, but this is the most standout to me.

Charlie Sweatpants: Well, yeah, they’re sending off a character in a very serious way – and they’re doing it because they were too cheap to pay the actress they’d been paying for more than a decade at that point.

  If ever there was a clear indicator that FOX didn’t give a fuck about the quality of the show, that was it.

Mad Jon: I am not a fan of the character change episodes, but man, I am really not a fan of the ones that require an unemployed Homer to get things on track.

  Especially when he has to hide in a mailbox for some reason.

Charlie Sweatpants: No arguments here. Homer is such a crutch in this episode that Flanders comes home from a date straight to the Simpsons house.

Mad Jon: This one feels like a repeat of the Vegas wife one. Except, you know, someone dies.

Charlie Sweatpants: Good call.

  It’s got all the problems that one does, plus several more.  I mean, Homer actually promises not to be a jerk, and then proceeds to be a jerk, and we’re still supposed to sympathize with him.

And Jerkass Homer is especially bad here because the rest of the episode is so damned solemn and serious.

Mad Jon: It really is. We have to support Ned through his loss, as well as his realization that he needs to move on, through the trials of that, and finally to the point that he learns he can be himself and still find love, I guess. And all the while all I can hear in the back of my head is "And that’s my queue to exit."

So I am supposed to feel bad and slapstick-y at the same time? Homey don’t play that.

Charlie Sweatpants: I know how you feel.

This one is a hot mess all over, though I’ll again say that there are a couple of good jokes and lines.

Mad Jon: I like the sign in the park at the beginning "Outdoor Sex By Permit Only".

Charlie Sweatpants:   I’m partial to "War Rocks", even though it’s very dumb. But overall it’s just unwatchable because it jumps back and forth between maudlin and profound and dumb and loud so fast that you don’t know whether to turn off the television or punch it.

Mad Jon: "This isn’t a war, it’s a murder…" "This isn’t a war, is a mudah!"

I also am partial to war rocks, but at the same time I shame myself for it.

  If it was anyone but Homer, fine. But not Homer.

Charlie Sweatpants: Like "horny" on the Scrabble board is funny, but is also instantly cut off as Flanders does the incredibly un-him, unbelievable, and stupid thing and mails Homer’s stupid dating video in.

And then it ends with a despicable meet cute between Flanders and the Christian singer babe.

Mad Jon: Yep, I couldn’t feel that scene either. The idea of him playing scrabble with himself is one thing, but the words on the board made him feel too much like "The Simpsons Movie" Flanders that I hate so, so very much.

Charlie Sweatpants: Like, Maude’s been dead for ten minutes, and we’ve already given Apu kids this season, so if there’s one thing we need, it’s to make sure Flanders has a woman waiting for him.

Mad Jon: A hot Christian musician at that.

Charlie Sweatpants: It’s the cheapest possible emotional resolution, which is fitting with the rest of this thing, but still pretty awful when you think about it.

Between that unwatchably poorly paced story and some of the worst Jerkass Homer ever, the few good lines and ideas just can’t compete.

Mad Jon: There really weren’t that many of them anyway.

  Although I did like the fax machine strapped to Lindsay’s leg.

Charlie Sweatpants: She was an early text message adopter.

A Pentecostal ska band is an awesome idea, and it’s funny that Flanders’ cock hangs past his knees, but the rest is way too nauseating to stomach.

Mad Jon: Why have hamburger when you can have steak? I probably say that almost daily.

  Again though, one line against a thousand.

  No competition here.

Charlie Sweatpants: Starwipe is excellent, but as you said, it’s heavily outnumbered.

  I feel like I’m saying this a lot lately, but I really hate this episode.

Mad Jon: You have been saying that a lot, but it has been justified, so don’t feel bad.

Charlie Sweatpants: It’s Season 11, my expectations are pretty low by this point, and this one still stands out for being both awful, and a preview of equally dumb things to come.

Mad Jon: This is going to get worse before it get’s better…

Charlie Sweatpants: Indeed it is. But not tonight.

01
Aug
12

Crazy Noises: Saddlesore Galactica

Saddlesore Galactica1

“Okay, we’ll do a different song.  Who cares?  They all end up sounding the same anyway.” – Mr. Largo

For the fourth summer in a row, we here at the Dead Homer Society will be spending some time discussing twelve year old Simpsons episodes.  This year we’re doing Season 11.  Why Season 11?  Because we’ve done Seasons 8, 9 and 10 already, and it’s time to take an unflinching look at the end of the show.  Since Skype and podcasts didn’t exist in 1999, and we want to discuss these episodes the way the internet intended, we’re sticking with the UTF-8 world of chat rooms and instant messaging.  This text has been edited for clarity and spelling (especially on “hemorrhagic”).

Today’s episode is 1113, “Saddlesore Galactica”.  Tomorrow will be 1114, “Alone Again Natura-Diddily”. 

[Note: Dave couldn’t make it again this week.  I’m beginning to think this “job” of his is just an excuse not to watch Season 11.]

Charlie Sweatpants: Ready to begin?

Mad Jon: I am

  Saddlesore?

Charlie Sweatpants: Very sore.

The best part of this episode is the beginning, and even then it’s all things that have been done better in earlier episodes.

Mad Jon: Agreed. This is a straight downhill episode. Shaun White would love it.

Charlie Sweatpants: That’s Winter Olympics, man.

Mad Jon: Yeah I know, but I don’t know any summer athletes who would enjoy a downhill…

That being said, Homer started at the bottom.

Charlie Sweatpants: Even the best parts at the beginning are retreads. Largo only wanting to play the same old standbys, the Simpsons at a fair, Homer making 1970s rock references. They were all things that had been done by the show not that long before.

Mad Jon: The Vietnam vet crap was a prelude to a Jerkass-ness that just, wouldn’t, stop.

Charlie Sweatpants: Case in point, the OmniGogs, which are one of the better jokes in the episode, feel like leftovers from "Twisted World of Marge Simpson".

Mad Jon: Agreed again, that would have been a great franchise in that episode.

Charlie Sweatpants: The Jerkass levels here are head splitting, almost literally when Homer imagines himself eating pearls.

Mad Jon: This man deep fries his shirt within minutes of the beginning.

Charlie Sweatpants: And screams at the band, which naturally makes them do whatever he says.

Mad Jon: Of course.

Charlie Sweatpants: And that’s before things really get going once they get the horse.

Homer’s various money making schemes are all dumb, then it gets ratcheted up even higher with them racing against professional jockeys, and then it gets even worse with the jockey elves, and then it gets even worst with the jockey elves firing a cannon and chasing Homer through the fucking streets.

Mad Jon: Disclaimer that I should have probably given before we started:

Once they went to Jockyland, I quit.

Charlie Sweatpants: Really?

Mad Jon: I left the episode on in the background, so that I wouldn’t be lost, but I left to clean the kitchen.

I just can’t stand that part.

  I just can’t stand it.

  It is so awful.

Charlie Sweatpants: So you didn’t get to experience the hemorrhagic joys of the chase scene and the super soaker ending?

Mad Jon: I remember that part, but the only note I have after the suicide note I wrote when Homer went into the jockey locker room is a question about how any sanctioning body would allow a 10-year-old to compete professionally.

  Oh, and something about Clinton being the worst.

  This episode could have fit in 5 or 6 seasons later.

Charlie Sweatpants: Agreed.

Mad Jon: I think my heart rate is up 20 bpm right now just thinking about the end.

  And I watched it several days ago.

Charlie Sweatpants: It keeps asking us to overlook more and more inane crap, and then it ends.

There’s no payoff for all that crap, you get the feeling that if it’d gone on another five minutes the jockeys would’ve become zombies and then Homer would need to visit a wizard to stop them. It was on a very sharp upward curve.

  It just ran out of time.

Mad Jon: Good call. I shudder to think about where this could have been if they let it go a littler longer.

I wonder if they would have ran out of horse related Jerkass-ness with Homer…

Charlie Sweatpants: Well, the horses all seemed to be sentient as well, so why not have them start talking?

Mad Jon: That was probably the last part to miss the cut.

Charlie Sweatpants: "Duncan" in this episode is basically like Air Bud, only without any of the intelligence.

Mad Jon: At least a golden retriever is cute. This thing had a nose ring.

Charlie Sweatpants: Like I said, things kept getting zanier and zanier.

  At first he was just racing fast, then he started beating other horses, then they stopped even running after him.

Mad Jon: But then they did, and there was a fight where Duncan stole their whips and hit them, or something.

Charlie Sweatpants: Always gets worse. There is a kind of geometric perfection to it, albeit one that is increasingly boring to watch.

This is an episode where, very late into it, you’re not even sure how it’s going to end, you just want it to end as quickly as possible.

Mad Jon: I feel like I am at a movie I didn’t want to go to anyway, and I am super drunk so I just keep telling myself it’s almost over and someone will take me home.

Charlie Sweatpants: It is an unpleasant feeling.

Mad Jon: That being said there are a couple of good lines. Not as many as even a poor episode would have, but there are a few.

Charlie Sweatpants: I do like the one jockey asking the other if he’d like to race clockwise.

Mad Jon: I particularly like the rich guy who has broken his third monocle this week.

  Also the jockey who wants to race clockwise, agreed.

Charlie Sweatpants: The rich guy is good. I also like Largo’s "fuck it" statement when he storms off saying they all sound the same anyway.

  It’s a pity the episode didn’t follow that up and actually have the school band sound like, you know, a school band instead of professional musicians during the competition.

Mad Jon: I am particular to Wiggum’s "I just want the horse to have a good home or be food" as well. Mainly because of how lazily he delivers it.

Charlie Sweatpants: Wiggum is great in that scene. His "I’d rather let a thousand guilty men go free than chase after them" is classic him.

Unfortunately, all of these lines are just speed bumps on ever increasing suck pit that is this episode.

Mad Jon: Yeah, the good lines aren’t even an apology. This is an episode that twice breaks the 3 1/2 wall.

  Stupid CBG.

Charlie Sweatpants: I actually like the second time he shows up.

Mad Jon: Meh.

Charlie Sweatpants: When Lisa thinks Marge is getting a gambling problem, and he says "I’m watching you". I dunno. I’ve always liked that.

Mad Jon: I hate the whole "We know we’re out of ideas, so we beat you to pointing it out" crap.

Charlie Sweatpants: I do too. The first time he shows up is very revealing.

It’s kinda funny, but it’s also clearly lost its bite. They made that joke, with Comic Book Guy himself, the first time in "Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie". It kinda worked in Season 8, when things were still strong. But by Season 11, there weren’t too many people left who were still saying it’s as good as it’s ever been.

They’re hiding behind Comic Book Guy, and in doing so are also showing just how out of ideas they really are.

Mad Jon: Yep.

Can’t really describe that any better.

Charlie Sweatpants: And don’t forget the Jerkass Homer, which also kept getting worse.

  Ready to bury Maude Flanders?

Mad Jon: I am.

26
Jul
12

Crazy Noises: The Mansion Family

The Mansion Family1

“You won a Grammy.” – Lisa Simpson
“I mean an award that’s worth winning.” – Homer Simpson
“LEGAL DISCLAIMER:  Mr. Simpson’s opinions do not reflect those of the producers, who don’t consider the Grammy an award at all.” – Subtitle Crawl

For the fourth summer in a row, we here at the Dead Homer Society will be spending some time discussing twelve year old Simpsons episodes.  This year we’re doing Season 11.  Why Season 11?  Because we’ve done Seasons 8, 9 and 10 already, and it’s time to take an unflinching look at the end of the show.  Since Skype and podcasts didn’t exist in 1999, and we want to discuss these episodes the way the internet intended, we’re sticking with the UTF-8 world of chat rooms and instant messaging.  This text has been edited for clarity and spelling (sadly enough, not on “drowning”).

Today’s episode is 1112, “The Mansion Family”.  Yesterday was 1111, “Faith Off”.

[Note: Dave couldn’t make it this week, Mad Jon and I are jealous he didn’t have to watch these.]

Charlie Sweatpants: This episode is just wretched beyond belief.

Mad Jon: This is pretty bad. I liked a few lines but other than that, I got nothing positive to say.

Charlie Sweatpants: It features pretty much everything I hate about Zombie Simpsons, and that was before I remembered that they had Britney Spears(!) on when she was at the peak of her peak.

  Trendy, self voiced celebrities are just awful in general, and this one they didn’t even write any jokes for her, just normal dialogue.

Mad Jon: There were lots of Zombie issues here. Most notably for me were the constant, CONSTANT Jerkass Homer things (I made a big list actually), and the fact that there were only 5 or 6 characters used in the entire episode.

Charlie Sweatpants: That must be a long list.

Mad Jon: If it were a quotation, I would have to use block quotes:

Drags statue out of award show, Saws his workstation in half for no reason, gets ripped up in the auto dresser, puts his ass through a painting while pretending to be a billionaire, drives the lawn mower through the house, idiot at dinner, swirls the liquor on the ground, swirls more on Lisa and everything else then passes out drunk, makes long distance call to Thailand, throws blowout party because he is leaving tomorrow, steals Burns’ boat, gets into stupid fight with pirates and their parrots, also argues with Coast Guard, and is at peace with his friends drowning, sobs because he is no billionaire, faces no repercussions for losing a multi-million dollar yacht

Also, I think this episode uses Lenny’s name more than any other episode ever.

Charlie Sweatpants: There is Marge being worried about Lenny at the beginning of "Hello Gutter, Hello Fadder".

But the Jerkass Homer quotient here is tediously high. It’s also one of my least favorite kinds because Marge and Lisa get dragged along to basically alternate between not stopping him and not caring.

The low comes when Burns decides to let Homer be the house sitter. Not only is it dumb, weak, nice Burns (which always sucks), but the stupidity of it all makes them basically admit that even they think Burns remembers Homer’s antics now.

Mad Jon: Oh, I refer to that scene as the softball moment.

Charlie Sweatpants: The day when you have to stop playing baseball and start playing softball?

Mad Jon: No, it is because Burns lobs the scene over the plate so Homer can spend the rest of the episode being Zombie Homer.

Charlie Sweatpants: Ah. He does that.

Mad Jon: It makes sense in my head, although not so much when I read what I’ve typed.

Charlie Sweatpants: Well, Homer spends the rest of the episode bouncing around Burns’ house and boat, so I’d say it’s fair to say that Burns gave him a nice fat one here.

It doesn’t make sense, and half the episode is just Homer being a dick in various wealthy locations, but if you like seeing Homer scream and wail, then you’ve just seen a towering home run.

Mad Jon: It was very much bipolar Zombie Homer

And most everyone else spends the rest of the episode not being themselves.

Charlie Sweatpants: Pretty much.

  Marge and Lisa, in particular, seem to alternately look the other way and then yell at Homer for trashing Burns Manor.

They don’t make any sense as characters here. They just sort of orbit Homer. Though I suppose that’s true of everyone.

Mad Jon: Especially Lenny, Carl, Moe, Grandpa, Krusty, and the others that DROWNED in the net at the end.

Charlie Sweatpants: Yeah, the drowning thing has always been a lowlight. Like, we know this isn’t serious, but what the fuck?

Mad Jon: A tad too nuts for me.

Charlie Sweatpants: Indeed. Like "Faith Off", the ending skips and jumps so many times that I’m not even sure what I’m watching by the end.

  I mean, Marge tells us that Burns will be home tomorrow, and in the scene after that, he has his first exam with the doctor. That is remarkably shitty editing.

Mad Jon: The scene continuity was indeed lacking.

I did enjoy the scene at the doctors with the Pope and Castro.

Charlie Sweatpants: The Castro thing seemed to be stretching it, but it was okay.

I like the pirate captain saying that "for liability purposes" the ocean will kill them.

Mad Jon: However, the good lines were very few and far between. So that sucked.

Charlie Sweatpants: Yeah, there are a few, but this one is mostly herky-jerky weirdness and Homer fighting pirates and a bunch of other stuff.

  Like Homer wailing over the end credits, which would’ve been funny if it hadn’t gone all the way to the damned Gracie logo.

  That shit got old fast.

Mad Jon: Yep. I wasn’t a huge fan of the wailing over the credits. Mainly because of how it got there.

Homer is depressed, even though he just cost his boss more money than he will ever make in his career and still faces no consequences. Then he starts crying about not being a billionaire, and then it is over.

Charlie Sweatpants: It’s Jerkass Homer.

Mad Jon: Oh, I know.

Charlie Sweatpants: He isn’t funny and is an asshole.

Mad Jon: I know that too.

Charlie Sweatpants: Anything else here?

Mad Jon: Nothing worth pointing out.

It is all crap, and I don’t like to pick through crap in that much detail.

Charlie Sweatpants: Even if it’s sloppy as hell getting there, Homer describing the MLB retransmit ship ("or so the legend goes") is kinda amusing.

Mad Jon: I was already broken by that point.

Charlie Sweatpants: Not worth picking through the crap, of course, but still gets a little smile.

Okay, I say let’s retreat to hidden blogger island and never speak of this again.

Mad Jon: Can we gamble there?

Charlie Sweatpants: Sure.

Mad Jon: Ok then. But I get to be the one with more parrots on his shoulder.

Charlie Sweatpants: Fine. You deal with the bird shit.

25
Jul
12

Crazy Noises: Faith Off

Faith Off1

“You’re playing days are over, my friend.  But you can always fall back on your degree in Communications!  Oh, dear Lord.” – Dr. Hibbert
“I know.  Is phony major.  Lubchenko learn nothing!  Nothing!” – Anton Lubchenko

For the fourth summer in a row, we here at the Dead Homer Society will be spending some time discussing twelve year old Simpsons episodes.  This year we’re doing Season 11.  Why Season 11?  Because we’ve done Seasons 8, 9 and 10 already, and it’s time to take an unflinching look at the end of the show.  Since Skype and podcasts didn’t exist in 1999, and we want to discuss these episodes the way the internet intended, we’re sticking with the UTF-8 world of chat rooms and instant messaging.  This text has been edited for clarity and spelling (surprisingly enough, not on “Lubchenko”).

Today’s episode is 1111, “Faith Off”.  Tomorrow will be 1112, “The Mansion Family”.

[Note: Dave couldn’t make it this week, Mad Jon and I are jealous he didn’t have to watch these.]

Charlie Sweatpants: Ready to get started?

Mad Jon: I am.

Charlie Sweatpants: Bart as the healer/preacher it is, then.

Like “Little Big Mom”, I think there could’ve been a good episode here. And like “Little Big Mom”, I want to like this episode but just can’t.

Mad Jon: Agreed, I was telling my wife that I wasn’t not looking forward to watching this one, but then I realized why I never watch it.

Charlie Sweatpants: Which is?

Mad Jon: Well it is a rich tapestry.

  I am sure it will fall along the same lines why you want to like it, but can’t get your head around it.

The common Zombie characteristics are here, and it really could have been a good one. There are lots of good lines, and some solid ideas, but always something is lying around the corner to cut off the potential for sustained enjoyment.

Charlie Sweatpants: The “potential for sustained enjoyment” is a good way to put it.

I can buy Bart becomes a faith healer among the students at the school. He can exploit people’s faith for his own benefit, learn a lesson (but not really) and there you go. But I can’t buy Bart taking all of Lovejoy’s flock, then letting Milhouse get hurt, then seeing Homer crippling a kicker to have Fat Tony show up and all the other crap that makes the ending a swirling mess.

  No sooner is there something decent than things get bizarre and out of hand again. And in so many different ways.

This is also one of the few times I can recall wishing the opening wasn’t related to the rest of the episode.

Mad Jon: Why is that?

Do you feel the opening would have been better on its own, or t’other way round?

Charlie Sweatpants: The football game/float subplot was a great source of how bad the ending got. If they had dropped that for a straight Bart-as-preacher angle, the ending might not have ended with Fat Tony and flying legs.

And the opening, which is the best part of the episode, would have been better off, particularly if they transported Lubchenko’s immortal “Is phony major! Lubchenko learn nothing!” to the banquet.

Mad Jon: Oooh, that would have been better.

Charlie Sweatpants: Right?

Though I’ll never get why they replaced Dean Peterson with that weak Dean Wormer knock-off.

Mad Jon: I liked the opening, but I was also a fan of the scene when Bart meets Don Cheadle.

  Agreed.

  Why on earth was Dean Peterson not the same guy?!?

  He didn’t do any of the things that the typical Dean Wormer knock-offs normally do.

Charlie Sweatpants: Well, he was mean, old and crotchety. Though he does get some good lines.

Mad Jon: Not the same. Take for example the Futurama version.

  That was good.

  This was weak.

Charlie Sweatpants: “A 7-5 football team doesn’t come cheap” and “Professor Rocko and Chancellor Knuckles” being my two favorites.

Mad Jon: I was about to point out that he did have some of the best lines.

Charlie Sweatpants: Agreed on the guy from Mars University. What he loves about being dean of students is the peace and quiet and the respect he receives.

But the opening quickly leads to the bucket thing, which leads to the revival for some reason, which does give Don Cheadle a couple of good lines but makes no sense all the same.

Mad Jon: Yeah, I know. The random event machine didn’t skip a beat this time.

Charlie Sweatpants: I’d forgotten that they got to the revival meeting by just crash landing there.

Mad Jon: Me too.

Charlie Sweatpants: I mean, Jebus, I know this episode has no transitions whatsoever, but that was abrupt, even for a car crash.

Mad Jon: I couldn’t figure out what was going on, I thought it was the circus or something and I just didn’t remember.

Charlie Sweatpants: Nope, they just drop it out of nowhere.

The story priorities here are just weird. Like, they spend that whole seen showing Bart acquiring that tent, and then they skip over just about anything that would lead Lovejoy’s entire congregation to it.

It’s the same with Homer at the game. He’s got a BBQ in the stands, he jumps onto the field, and all this other crap, but they never explain why he’d want to build a float, or why he’d be able to build a float.

Mad Jon: He went from BBQ in the aisle to drunk in the seat, to aware of the fact he isn’t on the field, to drunk driving his float.

Charlie Sweatpants: Yup.

Mad Jon: In addition to your valid float related items. There were 3 floats, and Homer, by himself, makes one.

Charlie Sweatpants: And don’t forget that he just shows up in the locker room with Hibbert (who is the team doctor for some reason) to heal Lubchenko.

Mad Jon: Also true.

Charlie Sweatpants: Or that Fat Tony materializes out of nowhere.

Mad Jon: Yeah, just had to throw that in I guess. Couldn’t let Bart try to heal Lubchenko without Homer being threatened by a laser guided ice pick.

Charlie Sweatpants: There still are good jokes though. The Keith Jackson impersonator is okay (like his “an overdue salute to halftime itself”), and this is where “Lubchenko learn nothing!” landed, but at this point in the episode I have so little idea what’s going on that I’m not even sure if Fat Tony is serious or an apparition.

Mad Jon: The associations are pretty loose here.

  But again I think that there is really too much going on to allow a simple mind such as mine to focus on the two major plot lines.

Charlie Sweatpants: Neither of them makes a half lick of sense, is the problem.

And that’s before Fat Tony shows up out of nowhere for one of them.

The whole thing is just a giant mess, and yet we’re supposed to take the ending seriously?

Mad Jon: Yeah whateves.

  I do have to ask, why did Lenny blink 3 times after the cow college comment preceding what I assume was the commercial break?

Charlie Sweatpants: I’ve always liked that. Well, not the blinking, but that stern nod he gives. Like it’d be fighting words to contradict him.

I’m also a fan of Brockman getting pissed at “fever”, though I could’ve done without the pan off camera for his nerdy nephew writer.

Mad Jon: The nephew was probably too much.

Charlie Sweatpants: Any other standouts for you here?

Mad Jon: I enjoyed the preacher and Bart’s discussion of religion as full coverage against accidental death.

But other than that, not really.

Charlie Sweatpants: Yeah, Cheadle’s delivery on “wow, that’s a good angle” is a definite highlight.

  But this one remains basically unwatchable in my book. There’s just way too much stupid.

Mad Jon: Agreed.

  But I have an easy solution for us, we can continue not watching it.

Charlie Sweatpants: Good. Onto Burns Manor, then?

Mad Jon: Yep.

18
Jul
12

Crazy Noises: Little Big Mom

Little Big Mom1

“That suit’s a little revealing, isn’t it?” – Homer Simpson
“Well, it allows for maximum mobility.  Feels like I’m wearing nothing at all.” – Ned Flanders

For the fourth summer in a row, we here at the Dead Homer Society will be spending some time discussing twelve year old Simpsons episodes.  This year we’re doing Season 11.  Why Season 11?  Because we’ve done Seasons 8, 9 and 10 already, and it’s time to take an unflinching look at the end of the show.  Since Skype and podcasts didn’t exist in 1999, and we want to discuss these episodes the way the internet intended, we’re sticking with the UTF-8 world of chat rooms and instant messaging.  This text has been edited for clarity and spelling (especially on “vacuum”).

Today’s episode is 1110, “Little Big Mom”.  Yesterday’s was 1109, “Grift of the Magi”. 

Charlie Sweatpants: I want to like this episode, I really do, but it’s got too many problems for me to want to watch it much.

Dave: Why do you want to like it, out of curiosity?

Charlie Sweatpants: I’m willing to set aside the weirdness of Lisa being the mom who takes care of Bart and Homer. I’m even willing to set aside Homer and Bart being best friends.

  As a role-reversal setup, that’s not terrible.

However, they take everything way too damn far. Did they have to actually go to Hawaii? Did the fucking ghost of Lucy have to appear before Lisa?

  Did the "practice" chore hat thing have to take that long?

  Couldn’t they have done something other than beat the shit out of Homer in a lot of these scenes?

When I say I want to like this one, what I mean is that there’s the germ of a good episode somewhere beneath all the crotch hits and Homer and Bart screaming about leprosy.

Mad Jon: It’s a Lisa Learns a Lesson episode, which tend to shift focus and allow for different types of stories. That has often worked in the past, but as most of my notes are just a list of Jerky things done by Homer and Bart, it is easy to see that shifting the focus didn’t get rid of any of those zombie problems.

Charlie Sweatpants: The Funzo one is just nuts, this one could’ve easily been something decent.

  For example, Otto is teaching the snowboard class which is all about lingo rather than snowboarding.

It’s kinda funny, and I like "duke on!", but there was no reason for that to be Otto. Would it have killed them to create a snowboard instructor character?

Mad Jon: An actual instructor would have been nice.

  Although I guess Otto isn’t that much of a stretch.

Charlie Sweatpants: No, he’s not, but there are so many things that could’ve been better in this episode. Like the scene where Homer and Bart go over to the Flanders house. Seeing the Flanders get guilted into something is enjoyable, having it take that long, including (off voice) Maude setting the vacuum cleaner on fire and Flanders getting his moustache ripped off, not so much.

Mad Jon: Imagination Christmas was good.

  But I more or less agree with you.

Charlie Sweatpants: Getting there was too much of a pain.

Mad Jon: That being said I have never looked at this episode in that manner, like there is something good at the roots, but it got dug up with dynamite.

Charlie Sweatpants: How about the Itchy & Scratchy at the beginning?

  No need for Scratchy to have a voice there. It’s filler.

He could’ve just invented the cloning and killing machines like a regular episode. (And I love it when he hits Scratchy in the face with the mace.)

Mad Jon: I do enjoy the cloning/killing machine idea. But you are right, took way to long to get to the funny.

Charlie Sweatpants: I really do try to avoid playing Monday Morning Screenwriter, but fuck, this episode really could’ve been a standout in Season 11 if it had just pulled itself back into some vaguely recognizable boundaries, and I find that frustrating to watch.

Mad Jon: Well put.

Charlie Sweatpants: For all that, though, I actually think this is one of the more quotable episodes in Season 11.

Mad Jon: Agreed on that as well.

Charlie Sweatpants: There’s Moe’s call to Lisa, Lisa’s cross country skiing admission, Homer and Bart watching the Lucy show, this one isn’t a comedy desert unlike so many others this season.

Dave: It’s all a nauseous blur to me.

Mad Jon: Flanders and Homer at the top of the mountain.

  I use the "feels like I’m wearing nothing at all" line all the time.

Charlie Sweatpants: Yeah, "stupid sexy Flanders" is great, and then immediately pissed on by Homer getting hit in the groin with snow mounds over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over.

Mad Jon: and over and over and over.

Charlie Sweatpants: Exactly.

  Still, by Season 11 standards, I think of this one as above average even if it is still mostly unwatchable.

"You’ve got . . . leprosy".

Mad Jon: I would agree with that rating. Of course it is disqualified in general by the fact that the ending is overlain by Homer’s screams.

  That’s a deal breaker for me.

Charlie Sweatpants: It is a wretched way to end an episode.

Especially one where Homer has already spent so much time getting the shit kicked out of him.

Any other particular high or low points here?

Mad Jon: Meh. There are a lot of mostly low points. Just not worth the effort to type. Especially in complete sentences.

Charlie Sweatpants: I’m fond of the Jesus joke where Homer says, "I think we’re on the outs with him", and I’m going to mention Moe’s phone call again, because the way he says "don’t hang up on me" gets me every time.

Mad Jon: Some good quotes and lines, but not enough to pull it out.

  I also like Moe’s call.

Dave: Yep.

  Better than the more overt suicide neediness he often displays.

Mad Jon: Just a standard desperate loneliness here, eh?

Charlie Sweatpants: Right.

  I don’t mind him being bitter and suicidal if it’s because one of his customers didn’t come in for an eye opener. I do mind him being heartsick and lovelorn over no one loving him.

It is a fine line between stupid and clever, and that’s it, right there.

Anything else here, or can I head for the electric needle room?

Mad Jon: I got nothing. Enjoy your view.

Dave: Let’s all go.

Charlie Sweatpants: Okay, but I get to go first.

17
Jul
12

Crazy Noises: Grift of the Magi

Grift of the Magi1

“So have a merry Christmas, happy Chanukah, kwazy Kwanza, a tip-top Tet, and a solemn, dignified Ramadan.  Now a word from my god: our sponsor.” – Krusty the Klown

For the fourth summer in a row, we here at the Dead Homer Society will be spending some time discussing twelve year old Simpsons episodes.  This year we’re doing Season 11.  Why Season 11?  Because we’ve done Seasons 8, 9 and 10 already, and it’s time to take an unflinching look at the end of the show.  Since Skype and podcasts didn’t exist in 1999, and we want to discuss these episodes the way the internet intended, we’re sticking with the UTF-8 world of chat rooms and instant messaging.  This text has been edited for clarity and spelling (especially on “coccyx”).

Today’s episode is 1109, “Grift of the Magi”.  Tomorrow will be 1110, “Little Big Mom”.

Charlie Sweatpants: Shall we get started?

Mad Jon: Let’s go.

Grift of the Magi?

Dave: Blech. Yes

Charlie Sweatpants: Yeah, this episode is all over the place.

Mad Jon: And right out of the gate too.

  It really didn’t screw around.

Dave: Pretty schizophrenic. And not particularly enjoyable either.

Mad Jon: No, I felt like Milhouse when he was being chased by the Christmas time ozone layer hole sunbeam thingy.

Charlie Sweatpants: The sunbeam from space is a little lame, but at least it doesn’t take long. And the kids hanging out around the house isn’t too bad. But once we head for the hospital, and then the school, and then Fat Tony walks out from behind the tree, things go to shit and stay there.

Mad Jon: Ditto the butt bone problem.

Charlie Sweatpants: The whole Fat Tony (what, 2 minutes or so?) is just a waste of time and space.

Mad Jon: Although I did enjoy when everyone chuckled at "coccyx"

Charlie Sweatpants: From a story point of view, all they need to do is get the school poor so that the evil company can come in. They didn’t need to go through all the histrionics to get there.

Mad Jon: Agreed

Charlie Sweatpants: The play for Burns, for example, is particularly stupid, especially in that it has Weak/Stupid Burns instead of the always funnier Evil/Smart Burns.

Mad Jon: I can’t stand that scene.

How the hell did they get in?

Dave: Yeah. Excruciating.

Charlie Sweatpants: The "Rat Poison" one is the worst. This is a man who actually consulted his lawyers about whether or not he could poison a lazy employee with a donut.

Mad Jon: That is such a Simpsons joke. Charity, children, old people, nobody gets into Burns’ mansion.

But Zombie Simpsons? We’ll just let that go I guess.

Charlie Sweatpants: And then they have this emergency meeting about closing the school, because apparently no one noticed all the construction.

Mad Jon: A catered meeting at that

  Delicious.

Charlie Sweatpants: And why the hell is Moe there?

Mad Jon: Gutsy question.

  You’re a shark.

Charlie Sweatpants: Then allow me to revolutionize outside the box for a second. As a "huh?" type moment, it’s pretty minor for this episode, but it’s still too weird not to be noticeable.

Furthermore, it’s part of the show’s overall devolution into Zombie Simpsons, where characters who have no business being places be there because . . . well, because we had a joke we kinda liked and were too lazy/apathetic to come up with something that fit in with the story, the characters, or Springfield as we know it.

Dave: That more or less sums it up.

Mad Jon: But the scene did give Homer a chance to stuff his pants full of free appetizers.

  So we got that going for us.

Dave: Lindsay Naegle, in her various incarnations, shows up way too much in this and in future episodes.

Mad Jon: She does show up a bunch in this epoch of seasons…

Charlie Sweatpants: I’ve always thought she’d have been a great character if she’d been introduced in Season 6 or 7. As it is, she came along too late. She’s got some decent lines in a few episodes, but she never had that one killer introductory episode where she became a real part of the show.

  More specifically to this episode, there’s just too damn much going on here.

Mad Jon: I know, look at all the insanity to this point, and we aren’t even to Gary Coleman.

Charlie Sweatpants: You could have a toy company that infiltrates the school, fine. You could have a for-profit school, fine. You could have a must-have robot toy, that’s okay. But to have all those things, plus killer robots, Gary Coleman, Homer breaking into houses, the list goes on.

Things just keep getting further and further out of hand until they actually have to have a narrator come on to squeeze everything in.

Mad Jon: If Funzo is designed to kill other toys, why don’t the Funzos try to kill each other?

  Then we could have a Funzo fight club or something.

Charlie Sweatpants: Don’t give them any ideas.

Funzo could’ve been a decent idea if all it did was suggest to kids that they buy more Funzo crap.

Mad Jon: I am just saying. There were 30 of them in the bag that Homer had….

Charlie Sweatpants: Instead they stretched it long past the breaking point by having it snap Malibu Stacey in half and toss her into the fire.

Mad Jon: Don’t forget the two heads on pencils.

  That was creepy.

Charlie Sweatpants: Well, the burning, melted kinda gross one that Coleman fights was my personal "wow this is really not like Simpsons at all" moment.

Mad Jon: Just couldn’t help themselves, I guess. Had to throw one more visual gag in there.

  Also it got Gary out of the shot, so he could stand by himself before the dinner invite.

Charlie Sweatpants: Stuffing this one with anything and everything with little to no regard for editorial control did seem to be the order of the day here.

I do like Krusty’s non-denominational holiday special, especially his "Now a word from my god, our sponsor" as he bows down.

That’s some enjoyably old school Krusty shilling, right there.

Mad Jon: That was funny. I also liked the court room show. "Donde Esta Justice" was a good name.

Dave: Donde esta justice was the highlight of the show for me

Charlie Sweatpants: Right. But for everyone one of those, there were five total wastes of time, like that odd discussion Homer and the kids have with Coleman, or Lenny for some reason wanting a Funzo even though he doesn’t have kids.

Take the end, for example. It’s kinda funny that Burns went through "A Christmas Carol" and Moe did "It’s a Wonderful Life" (the "No Funeral" sign on his back is good). But why did they have to rush over to the Simpsons house?

Mad Jon: Yeah, agreed.

  Forcing more wrap up style stuff.

Dave: Yep, they found a loose thread and had to either snip it or put it back in place

Charlie Sweatpants: I like the idea that Fat Tony’s construction company is called Valdazo Brothers Olive Oil, but that doesn’t mean I needed to see him work on the school right away.

Dave: Yeah that happened absurdly quickly

  Not that the benefit of additional time would’ve improved things

Charlie Sweatpants: Same old. For every thing that’s good here, there’s a lot more that’s bad, and many of the good things get stretched much too far.

Shall we move on to fake leprosy? (There’s something I never thought I’d have to say again.)

12
Jul
12

Crazy Noises: Take My Wife, Sleaze

Take My Wife, Sleaze1

“Eww, these records used to be real accomplishments.  Now they’re just gross.” – Lisa Simpson

For the fourth summer in a row, we here at the Dead Homer Society will be spending some time discussing twelve year old Simpsons episodes.  This year we’re doing Season 11.  Why Season 11?  Because we’ve done Seasons 8, 9 and 10 already, and it’s time to take an unflinching look at the end of the show.  Since Skype and podcasts didn’t exist in 1999, and we want to discuss these episodes the way the internet intended, we’re sticking with the UTF-8 world of chat rooms and instant messaging.  This text has been edited for clarity and spelling (especially on the many variations of “motorcycle sword fight”).

Today’s episode is 1108, “Take My Wife, Sleaze”.  Yesterday was 1107 “Eight Misbehavin”.

[Note: We lost Dave for technical reasons before we could get going on this one.]

Charlie Sweatpants: Ready to get going?

Mad Jon: I am.

Charlie Sweatpants: This episode is just wretched from start to finish.

Mad Jon: It really is.

Charlie Sweatpants: With some of the Season 10/11+ episodes I can’t stand, I can kind of see where they maybe had some good ideas or what they were trying to go for.

Mad Jon: There is literally 1 scene I don’t dislike, and most of them I downright hate.

Charlie Sweatpants: But how the hell do you get to Marge being kidnapped by a biker gang?

Mad Jon: I dunno.

I am pretty convinced that the entire episode was a setup for the motorcycle sword fight scene.

  Also, someone at FOX owed John Goodman a favor.

Charlie Sweatpants: Very possible.

Even twelve years on, I’m still so confused by the sword fight that I’m not even sure I have an opinion on it.

It comes from nowhere, doesn’t make any sense even while it’s happening, and then it’s over.

Mad Jon: I was always under the impression that motorcycles weighed hundreds and hundreds of pounds.

Charlie Sweatpants: And there’s that.

Mad Jon: It really is possible that the episode was written around that idea.

Charlie Sweatpants: I don’t think it was written around it, my guess is that they had two things here: Homer gets a motorcycle (okay) and the fish-out-of-water/odd-couple thing with the highly domestic Marge and the highly un-domestic bikers.

Mad Jon: Yeah I know.

  But my way is more disgraceful.

Charlie Sweatpants: True.

But the sword fight feels more like desperation to me. Like, we know Homer and this dude have to fight, and we know it isn’t funny, so how do we make it funny? How about an Errol Flynn/Douglas Fairbanks style sword fight with motorcycles!

And then someone else says, "I guess", and then someone else says it’s lunchtime, and that’s about it.

Mad Jon: I pictured the table from the Poochie episode.

Charlie Sweatpants: Exactly.

  The whole thing just reeks of desperation.

But the sword fight is just the cherry on top of this pitiful excuse for a script.

Mad Jon: Yes.

Charlie Sweatpants: There are two freaking montages, no reason is ever given for why the other Springfieldians would want to hang out with Homer even though they have no motorcycles, no one (not even Lisa) notices at first that Marge is gone.

  It’s just wretched from start to finish.

Mad Jon: But they had the note! With the thumb tack in the head??!?

Charlie Sweatpants: At this point the show is of the opinion that anything is funny so long as it’s unexpected, and that really, really, really doesn’t work after a while.

Mad Jon: That would explain why the bikers, who have lived by violence for their entire lives, are now pacifists.

Also, I hated the laughing scenes that preceded the learning to ride a bike montage.

Charlie Sweatpants: Compared to Burns laughing about the crippled Irishman, it’s transparently filler.

Mad Jon: That Irishman scene was gold.

  I am laughing thinking about it right now.

Charlie Sweatpants: Who’ll provide for me little ones?

But the "anything unexpected is funny" thinking runs through the whole episode. Like, what was with Homer tossing Marge up in the air after the dance?

Mad Jon: I don’t know. That way she got to have amnesia for less than 3 seconds.

Charlie Sweatpants: I could use some of that amnesia after this episode.

Mad Jon: Me first.

Charlie Sweatpants: I’d be happy not remembering the scene where Marge is offended that none of them find her sexually attractive. In general, it’s not a good comedy idea to have to preemptively deflect thoughts of gang rape.

Mad Jon: Yeah, especially since they want to take her to the orgy a few minutes later.

I do want to remember the band names, because I used to play shows with a band called "Christ Puncher". The lead guitarist actually worshiped Satan. But you wouldn’t know it by looking at him.

Charlie Sweatpants: I assume that’s the one scene you liked?

Mad Jon: Yes, that’s the one scene I don’t dislike.

Charlie Sweatpants: I can see that.

Mad Jon: It is just a bunch of offensive band names being spouted in the rumpus room of a holy roller.

  And it isn’t that long.

  And nobody got shot or burned or anything.

Charlie Sweatpants: True enough. However, the better question is, what in the living fuck were they doing in Flanders house anyway?

Mad Jon: I dunno. He wanted to be part of it or something.

Charlie Sweatpants: He just sticks his head around the fence and asks to join.

  For no reason.

  And completely out of character.

Mad Jon: Yep

Charlie Sweatpants: By that point I’m sort of numb to it since it doesn’t make much more sense for Moe, Lenny and Carl to be there either, but it still stings.

Mad Jon: Why were Homer and Marge the only ones not in 50’s garb?

You know, I ask the question, but I know the answer, so nevermind.

Charlie Sweatpants: Well, why was Dennis the Menace there?

Mad Jon: Excellent rebuttal.

Charlie Sweatpants: I too ask the question and know the answer, so I’ll concur with your "nevermind".

This episode does have a few little lines that I like, but mostly that’s the product of delivery.

  For example, when Apu is chasing them off, I can’t help but smile at the way Moe shouts "forget the pennies!" It’s dumb, I know, but Azaria does a great job of it.

Ditto with Shearer’s TV disclaimer about "consult calendar for current year".

Mad Jon: It’s the little things that allow us to not enter a ritual murder suicide pact.

Charlie Sweatpants:  Episodes like this probably are cause for justifiable homicide in some states.

Mad Jon: Like one of those stand your ground states?

Charlie Sweatpants: Something like that, yeah.

The Hell’s Satans probably know a good lawyer.

  Oh wait, they’re the dumbest biker gang there is.

Mad Jon: Yep.

Charlie Sweatpants: However, those few shining moments aside (I’m also partial to "I just swept the circle of death"), this one is unwatchable from start to finish.

Mad Jon: This was a "Simpsons go to…" turns into a "Homer becomes a…" episode.

Charlie Sweatpants: Good call.

Mad Jon: And there are just not enough lines in the middle to make me want to watch.

Charlie Sweatpants: This definitely has all the trappings of Zombie Simpsons with the completely unrelated first act followed by shit you aren’t even sure you’re actually seeing.

Like Homer sitting in his yard not driving his motorcycle.

Mad Jon: Making the vroom vroom noises

Charlie Sweatpants: And getting obsessed with a crappy fifties movie.

Mad Jon: Yeah that was pretty bad.

Charlie Sweatpants: And threatening Marge with divorce at the diner before taking a picture of her while she was asleep.

Even before the fucking motorcycle sword fight, Jerkass Homer was all over this one.

Mad Jon: He was.

Charlie Sweatpants: There isn’t a single moment in the entire episode where he’s even kinda sympathetic or remotely believable.

He loses Marge and asks Lisa to call the "Korean love bride" company.

Mad Jon: Ouch, forgot about that one.

Charlie Sweatpants: Yeah. Straight up asshole from start to finish.

  I guess we got an NRBQ version of the theme song out of this episode, but it wasn’t worth it.

Mad Jon: No it wasn’t. I had almost forgotten this episode existed, and now I realize I should have tried harder to make that a reality.

Charlie Sweatpants: Unfortunately, you’re going to be feeling that a lot as we trudge through the rest of 11.

Mad Jon: Don’t worry, I’ve started drinking more.

Charlie Sweatpants: Good idea.

11
Jul
12

Crazy Noises: Eight Misbehavin

Eight Misbehavin1

“Kids are the best, Apu.  You can teach ’em to hate the things you hate, and they practically raise themselves, what with the internet and all.” – Homer Simpson
“Well, perhaps it is time.  I’ve noticed this country is dangerously underpopulated.” – Apu Nahasapeemapetilon

For the fourth summer in a row, we here at the Dead Homer Society will be spending some time discussing twelve year old Simpsons episodes.  This year we’re doing Season 11.  Why Season 11?  Because we’ve done Seasons 8, 9 and 10 already, and it’s time to take an unflinching look at the end of the show.  Since Skype and podcasts didn’t exist in 1999, and we want to discuss these episodes the way the internet intended, we’re sticking with the UTF-8 world of chat rooms and instant messaging.  This text has been edited for clarity and spelling (happily enough, not on “octuplet”).

Today’s episode is 1107, “Eight Misbehavin”.  Tomorrow will be 1108, “Take My Wife, Sleaze”.

Charlie Sweatpants: Alright, so, who’s ready to discuss a bizarre episode about a totally nonsensical octuplet birth?

Dave: Only if we do it once.

Mad Jon: Ooh ooh! Me!!!

I always used to try and like this one.

But it never really worked.

And being this is the first time in probably 5 years that I’ve watched it, I have realized why.

Charlie Sweatpants: I know the feeling. It starts well, but after the fourth insipid plot twist you kinda go numb to it.

Mad Jon: I like Apu in this episode. I don’t like much else.

The episode seems like it means well, but you hit it there. I can only take so much insanity in 22 minutes.

At least make the insanity linear.

Charlie Sweatpants: Heh. Good point.

It’s got the same problem as “Hello Gutter, Hello Fadder”, where it leaps plot holes in a single bound, but then stands there and makes you watch a stupid montage.

This one alternates between confusing me and boring me, and that’s not a good combination.

Mad Jon: No, no it is not.

There are some lines, and some that I quote still to this day.

Such as “Listen, I’ll die when I want to.” and “So I got that going too!”

But I don’t feel the need to watch two men dressed like Eddie Munster get bitten by cobra robots. It is just not my style.

Charlie Sweatpants: I noted both of those lines, because Apu’s one liners are the best part of this episode (“I can’t believe you don’t shut up!”), and Azaria nails all of them.

Mad Jon: Again, I am a fan of Apu in this one.

Dave: The Apu bottle feeding mechanism is disgusting and amusing.

Mad Jon: It is unfortunate that Homer has to be around for most of Apu’s scenes.

Dave: But you’re right Jon, Azaria does a great job here.

Charlie Sweatpants: “Who will float my corpse down the Ganges?” is great. “I’ve noticed this country is dangerously underpopulated” is pretty good. And “Lamps that do not look like lamps” is one of the first of the great Ikea jokes.

Mad Jon: All high notes.

Charlie Sweatpants: But you’re right, the episode begins crashing into itself as soon as Homer becomes their fertility coach.

And then it gets worse (eight kids!), and worse (no endorsements!), and worse (in the zoo!) and worse (breaking and entering!), and pretty soon you’re just wondering if this is going to end up in a space battle or not.

I mean, by just the middle of the episode, the entire Simpson family (including Maggie) is in the waiting room and Manjula has apparently never had an ultrasound.

Mad Jon: Well, those types of plot holes aren’t even worth mentioning.

Of course the 8 babies are a ‘surprise’

Charlie Sweatpants: They certainly weren’t worth editing.

Mad Jon: Nope. But nobody noticed the “lifetime clause” in the contract?

Homer and Butch are immune to buckets of cobra venom?

Charlie Sweatpants: Wait, stop.

Mad Jon: Ahh, who am I kidding.

Charlie Sweatpants: I’ll trade you fallacy for fallacy. First one to miss loses.

Mad Jon: This will be short, I wasn’t paying much attention

Charlie Sweatpants: Well, you’re already three in. You’ve got the lifetime clause, immunity to cobra venom, and the octuplets thing being a surprise.

My reply three is Maggie being the same age after nine months, why Manjula introduces the babies (with names!) to Apu, and the sheer boringness of the show. Does anyone really want to see infants sitting around?

Now it’s your turn. I’ve got like, four more.

Mad Jon: I don’t know what to tell you. That was a good one though.

The gate at the zoo was closed as they left, the Gorillas were somehow out of the cages as well.

Charlie Sweatpants: Well played, sir. How about Apu not complaining about the top of his car being sawed off until after they were up at make out point?

Mad Jon: Ha, that is true.

And funny when you say it, not when it happened so much.

How about the fact that Apu’s mom, who by the way forces the arranged marriage, doesn’t show up for the birth of 8 grandchildren.

Charlie Sweatpants: I didn’t have that one, but you’re right. That was a lost comedy opportunity.

How about Apu and Manjula being on display with the babies and being okay, but then having no clue that the nursery was actually a soundstage and that there were a dozen staff members ready to pounce?

Mad Jon: Excellent.

That does seem like it would be hard to spring on someone. What about the fact that Larry Kidkill knows where Homer lives, and that Apu and him would go there after stealing back the babies?

Charlie Sweatpants: Pretty good. How’s about the way Butch Patrick just shows up in their bedroom to notarize Manjula’s signature?

Mad Jon: Ooohh, that was my next one.

Charlie Sweatpants: Got you!

Mad Jon: Yeah, I don’t have any more prepared. I may have to default to your plot hole awareness skills.

Charlie Sweatpants: This episode is mostly plot holes.

And while I kind of enjoy the Ikea scene at the beginning, it’s got too much Jerkass Homer.

Mad Jon: It was too slippery a slope to start that far down. That’s for sure.

Charlie Sweatpants: Yeah, it started weak and flatlined quickly. Dave, anything draw your ire?

Dave: Nothing that you guys haven’t already covered

Mad Jon: I don’t know what else to say either. I see a lot of minus signs on my scorecard, and again most of the pluses are one liners from Apu.

Charlie Sweatpants: Well, that sucked, let’s move on.

27
Jun
12

Crazy Noises: Hello Gutter Hello Fadder

Hello Gutter, Hello Fadder2

“There is no escape from the fortress of the moles! . . . Well, except that.” – Moleman

For the fourth summer in a row, we here at the Dead Homer Society will be spending some time discussing twelve year old Simpsons episodes.  This year we’re doing Season 11.  Why Season 11?  Because we’ve done Seasons 8, 9 and 10 already, and it’s time to take an unflinching look at the end of the show.  Since Skype and podcasts didn’t exist in 1999, and we want to discuss these episodes the way the internet intended, we’re sticking with the UTF-8 world of chat rooms and instant messaging.  This text has been edited for clarity and spelling (especially on “hantavirus”).

Today’s episode is 1106, “Hello Gutter, Hello Fadder”.  Yesterday was 1105, “E-I-E-I-(Annoyed Grunt)”.

Charlie Sweatpants: This one is, if anything, worse overall than the Tomacco one.

Mad Jon: As an episode whole, I think I agree.

Charlie Sweatpants: Tomacco has a few good ideas and jokes if you feel like waiting through all the crap. This one, pretty much just crap.

Mad Jon: I am not a TV writer, or a professional critic, but this episode wasn’t coherent at all.

Dave: This is a thousand monkeys typing on a thousand typewriters and completely botching it.

Mad Jon: The lows were not as low as the Tomacco one in my opinion, but it seemed like the whole thing was one solid low point.

Dave: Yeah, what few highs were in Tomacco were nonexistent here.

Charlie Sweatpants: What bugs me, and this is a general Season 11 complaint though it’s in evidence in spades here, is the way the show yo-yos back and forth between a kinda serious/obeying some rules mentality to completely weird/Halloween episode, sometimes within the same scene.

Mad Jon: I don’t get the plot at all. Maggie wants attention from Homer, who won’t give it to her, then he wants to give her attention but she doesn’t want it, then he eats shark eggs and she pulls him out of the rip tide?

Charlie Sweatpants: Homer’s worried about Burns firing him, okay, kinda normal there, but then Homer feels up Burns’ face, pulls out his teeth, and starts eating radioactive goo.

Mad Jon: yeah, the face grab/reactor core beating/waste eating bloc was a tough one to swallow.

  Get it?

Charlie Sweatpants: Right, it’s nominally about Homer and Maggie drifting apart, then he spends time with her, then she saves him. The events aren’t connected in the least.

  Got it. Are you sure you’re not a professional TV writer?

Mad Jon: I know, can you believe it?

Dave: Jon, quit your day job.

Charlie Sweatpants: But this episode is full of things like that. Homer’s bowling a perfect game, but then his family shows up in the last two frames all the way from home.

Homer’s sad, and then he’s instantly suicidal, and then he’s not again. There’s no connection to any of it.

  For example, Penn and Teller. Where the hell did that come from?

Mad Jon: I dunno. Why are Disco Stu and Skinner’s Mom on the game show?

A game show where the guest stars are Ron Howard, Homer, and Princess Kashmir.

Charlie Sweatpants: That part didn’t make any sense either, like, is he supposed to be a local celebrity?

And Ron Howard, I get why they had him back on because he’s very funny (and we all know that a crap narrator would’ve sunk Arrested Development), but he’s just pointless here.

Mad Jon: Nothing against Ron Howard here. Just like Mel a few episodes back, he did as well as anyone could with the given situation.

But why is he on a local Springfield game show? That’s all.

Charlie Sweatpants: Well, this was right about the time when they just gave up on doing anything interesting with celebrities instead of just trading off their existing fame.

Mad Jon: Ah Yes.

Charlie Sweatpants: Penn and Teller are funny enough that they can have their little moment, but it has nothing to do with The Simpsons. It’s just them writing a sketch for Penn and Teller.

And stuff like that is all this episode is, a series of sketches that mostly aren’t funny. (I do chuckle a bit at the hantavirus joke, but then spiders explode out of Bart’s gum, and they’ve taken it too far.)

Mad Jon: I also like the hantavirus joke.

Charlie Sweatpants: What, for example, was the point of Homer and Maggie in the swimming pool? Setting up the ending? Why bother when it’s so transparently insane anyway.

  Why does Homer get electrocuted? Oh right, they wanted to make a weak Teletubbies joke.

Mad Jon: Yeah, probably could have had the same effect without the pool scene.

Charlie Sweatpants: Why does Homer choke on the 300 game balloon?

Dave: So we can watch him choke.

For the lulz.

Charlie Sweatpants: What’s with that shtick laden scene where Lenny distracts Homer?

  There’s so many of these pointless scenes here, it’s amazing that they managed to be that consistently mediocre.

Dave: Just a preview of things to come, when they play off that "strength" at the expense of everything else

Charlie Sweatpants: True enough. The mole people thing here is definitely a precursor to the Jockey Elves, but we’ll get to that soon enough.

Mad Jon: Ugh.

Charlie Sweatpants: Yeah, it’s coming, but really, is it any less fantastical that what happens here?

Mad Jon: No, I guess not. It is just a different type of fantastical.

Charlie Sweatpants: And in the meantime, we get to see Marge vanish for the whole episode here while Homer flails about with Maggie, Bart sit quietly with Nelson in his room, and Homer pops out of a manhole cover just in time to have Ron Howard drive by.

Mad Jon: I almost forgot about Nelson.

Charlie Sweatpants: They needed him for a second, so he appeared. Standard Zombie Simpsons.

Anything else here?

I really dislike this episode, and if we can just all agree to forget about it forever now, I’d be cool with that.

Mad Jon: I got nothing. I don’t like either of these. Not at all.

Charlie Sweatpants: But if there are any other lowlights you feel need discussing, we can do that.

Dave: Nothing from me. Let’s never speak of these again.

26
Jun
12

Crazy Noises: E-I-E-I-(Annoyed Grunt)

E-I-E-I-(Annoyed Grunt)1

“You’re not gonna grow nothin’ on the old Simpson place.  That’s why your Daddy abandoned it.” – Chuck Sneed
“Aw, what do you know?” – Homer Simpson
“Well, I know your soil pH is up around 9.6, and you need it 7 to 8, max.” – Chuck Sneed
“Oh, that’s just superstition.” – Homer Simpson

For the fourth summer in a row, we here at the Dead Homer Society will be spending some time discussing twelve year old Simpsons episodes.  This year we’re doing Season 11.  Why Season 11?  Because we’ve done Seasons 8, 9 and 10 already, and it’s time to take an unflinching look at the end of the show.  Since Skype and podcasts didn’t exist in 1999, and we want to discuss these episodes the way the internet intended, we’re sticking with the UTF-8 world of chat rooms and instant messaging.  This text has been edited for clarity and spelling (shockingly enough, not on “Grasshopperus”).

Today’s episode is 1105, “E-I-E-I-(Annoyed Grunt)”.  Tomorrow will be 1106, “Hello Gutter, Hello Fadder”.

Mad Jon: Sometimes, like tonight, I watch something I don’t want.

Charlie Sweatpants: If that’s your way of saying we should get started, I’m game.

Mad Jon: No rush, just a convenient entry and phrasing opportunity.

But I accept your challenge

Let us begin with E-I-E- Doh.

I think I forgot an ‘I’

Charlie Sweatpants: Enh. This one is just the Tomacco one.

Mad Jon: Tomacco it is.

Whenever I watch this one, and it is probably because I smoked so many years, I can taste the Tomacco.

It’s pretty bad y’all.

Dave: Your smoking habit, the episode, or both?

Charlie Sweatpants: The inherent disgustingness of Tomacco doesn’t help, that’s for sure.

Mad Jon: Well, the flavor I assume the Tomacco has is to what I was referring.

But all the rest fall in there as well.

Charlie Sweatpants: This episode has a couple of decent gags in it, but man, between the plutonium, the Tomacco, the farm animals, the dueling, it’s way too much of a mess.

Dave: Don’t forget the B52s.

Charlie Sweatpants: It’s classic Zombie Simpsons in that it leaps ahead plot wise so many times you aren’t sure what’s happening, then it slows way the fuck down and you get time killing scenes like that thing with the Christmas tree, or Lenny sending the mail.

The song is one of the few redeeming parts here.

Mad Jon: The only ‘+’ I have on my sheet is from the credits of the Zorro movie, where James Earl Jones is credited as the “Voice of Magic Taco”

Charlie Sweatpants: The credits for Zorro are pretty good in general, and the fake movie titles at the beginning are the same way.

Mad Jon: They still had a .700 slugging average with signs in this season.

Charlie Sweatpants: “My Dinner with Jar Jar” is hilarious, ditto “Shakespeare in Heat”.

And, of course, this one has “Sneed’s Feed & Seed (Formerly Chuck’s)”, which should be in some kind of sign gag hall of fame.

But the main parts of this episode can’t even begin to live up to that standard.

Mad Jon: Yeah, I am sure, as you said, there are a couple of gags here and there, but they are drowned out by constant crushings via tractor, glove slap montages, and an invisible plant dance.

I also hated the “just one man” speech. Because it couldn’t have been less Homer than that.

Frankly these things along are enough to make me forget anything positive worth mentioning.

Dave: Basically right. A good few tidbits here and there can’t make up for the whole.

Charlie Sweatpants: Agreed. I essentially never watch this one because there are just way too many annoying scenes, several of which Jon mentioned. The tractor thing gets old real fast.

Mad Jon: And it just, doesn’t, stop.

Charlie Sweatpants: And, of course, there are the insanely addicted animals, which resolve the plot (sort of), but don’t show up until the fucking nineteen minute mark.

This one hits a really aggravating sweet spot where it’s both nonsensical, and moving so fast that you have no idea what’s even supposed to be happening.

And there’s lots of Jerkass Homer. Lots.

Dave: It wouldn’t be Zombie Simpsons without.

Mad Jon: That’s fer sure.

Charlie Sweatpants: I will say, for some reason the line about Chad Everett and “Grasshopperus” always gets a laugh out of me.

But I could’ve done without 90% of Homer’s dialogue and actions here, and it’s made even worse as the rest of the family (with the occasional objection) just goes along with it.

Mad Jon: The Everett and “Grasshopperus” is lost on my simple mind. But I’ll take your word for it.

Charlie Sweatpants: I’d never even heard of Everett before I saw this episode (he’s your standard 1960s-70s TV leading man), I just like the obviousness of Castellaneta’s delivery on “Only cause he tried to reason with him.”

Mad Jon: Ah.

Charlie Sweatpants: Anything else here?

This one is just such formulaic Zombie Simpsons that I’m not sure there’s much to say.

Dave: I’m fine with moving on.

Mad Jon: Not much else here to complain about. I agree.

Charlie Sweatpants: The plot makes no sense, there’s lots of filler, Homer’s an ass, and the pacing is schizophrenic.

To end on a positive, I do kinda like Homer getting butter on his milk duds.

Never tried it, but I bet I’d like it.

Mad Jon: It looked pretty nauseating, but actually seemed like something Homer might do.

19
Jun
12

Crazy Noises: Treehouse of Horror X

Treehouse of Horror X1

“Bart, just let me drop and save yourself!” – Clobber Girl
“What do you think I’ve been trying to do?” – Stretch Dude

For the fourth summer in a row, we here at the Dead Homer Society will be spending some time discussing twelve year old Simpsons episodes.  This year we’re doing Season 11.  Why Season 11?  Because we’ve done Seasons 8, 9 and 10 already, and it’s time to take an unflinching look at the end of the show.  Since Skype and podcasts didn’t exist in 1999, and we want to discuss these episodes the way the internet intended, we’re sticking with the UTF-8 world of chat rooms and instant messaging.  This text has been edited for clarity and spelling (especially on “inadvertently”).

Today’s episode is 1104, “Treehouse of Horror X”.  Yesterday was 1103, “Guess Who’s Coming to Criticize Dinner?”.

Charlie Sweatpants: Ready to move on to Halloween?

Mad Jon: Let’s.

Charlie Sweatpants: Shall we just do these in the order in which the appeared, or shall we do them in terms of quality?

Mad Jon: Order they appeared.

Unless you guys disagree.

Charlie Sweatpants: Fine by me.

Dave: Order they appeared please.

Charlie Sweatpants: I ask because I’m of the opinion that one of these is vastly better than the other two.

Mad Jon: I really have a hard time ranking THOH skits by quality, at least within the same episode.

Charlie Sweatpants: But if we’re going by order, then let us discuss Dead Flanders.

Mad Jon: Ok.

Charlie Sweatpants: This is not the one I think is good. There’s way too much Homer acting overly dumb, characters not making any sense (even within this Halloween sketch), and then there’s a lot of off voice Maude Flanders, which just bugs me no end.

Dave: Yeah. It was pretty irritating to watch through and through.

Mad Jon: I was hoping this wasn’t your top skit. As a THOH bit, it’s pretty standard, but I just don’t see enough of the family in this one as they are. It is just them being panicked and scared.

The plot is very THOH, but since, as Charlie pointed out with Homer’s overacting, nobody is themselves, I sort of just wait for it to end.

Charlie Sweatpants: Yeah.

  Like Homer’s long ass whispering scene to Flanders corpse.

Mad Jon: Exactly.

Dave: I’d nearly forgotten.

Charlie Sweatpants: There’s just no need for it. Ditto all those long scenes where people stare at them accusingly and Homer and Flanders’s corpse on the roof.

  The whole thing is just a few minutes long, they shouldn’t need that much filler.

Mad Jon: Well put.

Dave: So we agree this was pretty weak.

Charlie Sweatpants: Very week.

Mad Jon: I feel the second weakest, but that is till pretty week.

Charlie Sweatpants: The only scene in this one I really like is Homer’s description of all the cliched horror locations.

Mad Jon: There is that.

Charlie Sweatpants: Of course, a couple years after this, "South Park" did it better when they had the old man describe the haunted ski mountain and then the evil road Butters has to travel down.

Mad Jon: Lot of history down that road…

Charlie Sweatpants: But it’s still the highlight of the sketch.

  And with that, I’m ready for Xena.

Any objections?

Mad Jon: Nope.

Dave: Nope.

Mad Jon: I am going to go out on a limb and hope this was your favorite.

Charlie Sweatpants: We have indeed reached the segment I think is easily the best of this one.

Mad Jon: Whew.

I guess I am not an idiot. I like this one.

  The idea of CBG as a villain could have gone either way.

Charlie Sweatpants: It could’ve, but thankfully this is a Halloween episode so they just made all the uber-geek jokes they could, and most of them are funny.

Mad Jon: Swing for the fences I guess.

Dave: Yep, it generally worked for me.

  As a one off flight of fancy.

Charlie Sweatpants: Comic Book Guy dying in the "classic, Lorne Greene pose" gets me every time.

Mad Jon: I thought Lucy Lawless did a very good job.

Charlie Sweatpants: And it’s a joke that’s aged well since they rebooted Battlestar Galactica.

Mad Jon: Yep.

Charlie Sweatpants: I agree though, Lawless does a fantastic job of both playing herself and not playing herself.

Mad Jon: I like the ending

Charlie Sweatpants: I’m not Xena. I’m Lucy Lawless.

Mad Jon: Yep, That’s the one.

Charlie Sweatpants: This whole segment is like that, there’s lots of in jokes, but at the same time, Bart and Lisa are kind of acting like they really would if they had super powers. I’m never bored.

Dave: Yup.

Charlie Sweatpants: Like when Lisa tells Bart to let her drop.

Mad Jon: That was funny

Charlie Sweatpants: Or when he stretches his eyes into the adult section.

Mad Jon: So, we agree. This is the A team in this THOH.

Charlie Sweatpants: Easily.

The Halloween episodes were the last ones to really go to shit, and segments like this are why.

Mad Jon: I think there is more breathing room in these. You can go wild, as long as you can wrap it up in 6 or 7 minutes.

Charlie Sweatpants: Exactly. They have the freedom to just crack jokes about Star Wars, William Shatner, and nerds (A wizard did it!).

Azaria’s delivery on, "Oh please, I’m not insane, I simply wish to take you back to my lair and make you my bride" is just perfect, but it’s also a line that could never have worked in a regular episode.

Dave: How these have managed to turn dull is surprising, given that they’ve historically been the opportunity for the writers to let loose.

Charlie Sweatpants: Well, even with all the rules off, you can still phone it in or just fuck up and not care.

Dave: That’s kinda my point. There’s no need to phone it in, and yet they do. But I digress.

Charlie Sweatpants: Well yeah, Exhibit A for that is the final segment here.

  It’s a pastiche of lame celebrity jokes, and they’re like: ta da!

Dave: There’s one thing I genuinely like about this segment, Homer’s quip about remembering him filled with murderous rage

  That’s it.

Charlie Sweatpants: I’d only add to that the way he inadvertently taunts Bart by saying they’ve both lived long, full lives.

It should’ve ended without him reacting remorseful, but it’s good.

Lisa’s instant response of "Mom" when asked who gets to come is good too. But for the most part this one is unimaginative Y2K bullshit and jokes that basically boil down to, "Hey, don’t you people dislike Rosie O’Donnell/Tom Arnold/Pauly Shore? Remember how lame they are?"

Mad Jon: Yeah, just wasn’t that entertaining. I agree, there were a few good lines, such as the ones you’ve pointed out, but I didn’t really get into it. Pretty much after the point we find out Homer is the Y2K compliance guy, I checked out.

Charlie Sweatpants: Right. It’s an excuse for them to wind up Jerkass Homer and let him spin, and then it’s a bunch of cheap celebrity jokes.

Dave: Bingo.

Charlie Sweatpants: Even Dick Clark as a robot is kinda that.

Anything else here?

Mad Jon: Meh, not a fan of this skit, and I don’t really have anything else to say about the episode.

Dave: In retrospect, it was predictably bland.

Mad Jon: The pinnacle of my THOH viewing career came in 1994(?) when they had the first three lead up to the new one that year. That was cool.

Charlie Sweatpants: I still recall getting home from trick or treating to see what I think was TOH II.

Dave: Aww, memories.

Charlie Sweatpants: But these late season Halloween episodes are all really uneven.

Mad Jon: That is true.

Charlie Sweatpants: And the hell of it is, I really do like the Xena part, but I almost never watch it because I don’t want to sit through the others.

Mad Jon: That would be a bit of waiting for a few minutes of entertainment.

Charlie Sweatpants: Right.

  Well, if it’s all the same to you two, I’m going to remove my breastplate and fly home.

Dave: No one wants to see your boobs.

Charlie Sweatpants: And yet many have.

18
Jun
12

Crazy Noises: Guess Who’s Coming to Criticize Dinner?

Guess Who's Coming to Criticize Dinner5

“Lard, ho!  Tis a good sign, Homer’s unfastened the top button on his pants.” – Captain McAllister
“Uh, no, he’s been walking around like that since Thanksgiving.” – Akira
“I’m surprised he just doesn’t give it up and go for sweatpants.” – Captain McAllister
“He says the crotch wears out too fast.” – Akira
“Yargh, that’s gonna replace the whale in my nightmares.” – Captain McAllister

For the fourth summer in a row, we here at the Dead Homer Society will be spending some time discussing twelve year old Simpsons episodes.  This year we’re doing Season 11.  Why Season 11?  Because we’ve done Seasons 8, 9 and 10 already, and it’s time to take an unflinching look at the end of the show.  Since Skype and podcasts didn’t exist in 1999, and we want to discuss these episodes the way the internet intended, we’re sticking with the UTF-8 world of chat rooms and instant messaging.  This text has been edited for clarity and spelling (especially on “comeuppance”).

Today’s episode is 1103, “Guess Who’s Coming to Criticize Dinner?”.  Tomorrow ill be 1104, “Treehouse of Horror X”. 

Mad Jon: Shall we start with "Guess Who’s Coming to Criticize Dinner"?

Charlie Sweatpants: Yes.

Any initial thoughts?

Mad Jon: I used to have a place in my heart for this episode, but I haven’t watched it recently.

  And now that I’ve watched it recently, I think I have a place in my heart for certain scenes.

Charlie Sweatpants: I can see that. Dave?

Dave: It was honestly hard for me to watch.

Charlie Sweatpants: That bad, huh?

Dave: I haven’t watched the episode in years and it was more annoying and abrasive than I remember.

Mad Jon: There are a lot more minus signs on my paper than I thought there would be… That’s for sure.

Charlie Sweatpants: Well then, I may be in the odd position of being the far more positive one of us on this one.

It’s got problems, no doubts there. There’s lots of Jerkass Homer, plenty of unnecessary scenes, jokes that go too long, the plot could’ve been tighter, etcetera.

Mad Jon: Pretty much.

  But other than that, there are some good lines and whatnot.

Charlie Sweatpants: But all of the problems are pretty run of the mill at this point, and I think on the whole they’re less pronounced here than in pretty much anything else this season or in Season 10.

Mad Jon: Which is why there was always a place in my heart, there are some excellent daily use lines here.

  I just never realized how Jerky Homer really was in this one.

  Because he is really Jerky.

Charlie Sweatpants: He is.

Dave: Totally jerky.

Charlie Sweatpants: But on the other side of the ledger, is a story that does (mostly) makes sense, a good guest voice, and quite a few quotable lines. There’s way more to admire here than in most episodes from around this time.

Mad Jon: I agree.

The story is pretty decent. And the editor reminds me of Ray the Sanitation commissioner.

  Lots of lines, and several jokes that don’t get beat into the ground.

  All positives.

Dave: You guys are going to have to help me out.

  I remember it being rather humorless.

  What worked for you?

Mad Jon: Ok, Take the Uter references.

How about the certain % of recycled paper? Numerous threatening references to the UN?

Dave: Maybe I was just having an off/grouchy moment watching it.

I am happy to indulge your enjoyment, however.

Charlie Sweatpants: Don’t be so hard on yourself, one of the things we like about you is that "grouchy" is many of your "on" moments.

Dave: Aw shucks, thanks.

Charlie Sweatpants: But I agree with Jon here. The plus side of the ledger is shockingly long, especially so for Season 11.

Combine that with the fact that the problems here are a lot worse in most of Season 11, this one shines, relatively speaking.

Except for a few scenes that go off the rails, this one would fit nicely into the middle of Season 9.

Dave: Fair enough.

Charlie Sweatpants: I could’ve done without Gil, and without that weird scene where everyone is fat, and the view from the rotating restaurant is something they did way way better back in "Principal Charming".

But there’s just a lot of good quotes here, even before we get to the sweatpants/crotch hole/whale nightmare exchange, which is just fantastic. (And I’m only partially saying that because I can say, as an avid sweatpants wearer, that the crotch is always the first thing to go.)

"Gonna replace the whale in my nightmare" is one of those lines that you can use any time, even in front of people who don’t get the reference.

Dave: I’d replace wearer with enthusiast, but fair enough.

Charlie Sweatpants: I can’t get around the fact that this episode’s flaws, which are obvious and which I in no way shape or form deny, are relatively pedestrian, whereas its strengths are pretty original, especially given the whole "being in Season 11" thing.

Mad Jon: I can see that.

  The misses are indeed obvious, I cite the bath scene that went on for 45 minutes.

  But it could have been worse. And is definitely tempered by some of the better lines.

Or the stop the presses scene, which was immediately tempered by the editors reaction.

Charlie Sweatpants: That Ann Landers and Dear Abby are kept alive against their will to continue pumping out crappy advice columns is funny, and since Jerkass Homer is far more Jerkass for most of this season than he is here, on the whole I think we the audience come out ahead.

There’s also a lot of good sign humor. "Moleman’s Gruel" is great.

I’ll take that over the odd appearance of elephants as Homer is chased into the sunset.

Mad Jon: I didn’t pay as much attention to the signs as I normally do.

The chase scene bothers me.

  Why are the critics still mad? Didn’t they want Homer to be more critical?

  It was forced, it didn’t need to be.

Charlie Sweatpants: And he didn’t get his comeuppance.

Dave: A chilling sign of things to come.

Mad Jon: No indeed he didn’t, but I guess he got some exercise.

Charlie Sweatpants: This is a messy plot, but the ending is no worse than, say, the spontaneous party at the end of "Burns, Baby, Burns".

Mad Jon: That was the ending that came to mind when this one wrapped up.

Charlie Sweatpants: And, though I’m repeating myself, there’s just a lot of good lines here. The editor talking about "chick crap" in the lifestyle section is exactly what newspapers put in the lifestyle sections. The New York Times is notorious for this.

Mad Jon: This is generally a watchable episode. And until we started really parsing the problems of the last few seasons out, I could never put my finger on what was different.

  That says something.

Charlie Sweatpants: It does.

Mad Jon: It would take a very well trained eye, as well as a cynical heart to hate this episode.

Charlie Sweatpants: You’re just taunting Dave, now.

Mad Jon: And a lazy man, such as my self, to nod as it passes by.

Dave: He sure is. But I’ll let it slide.

Mad Jon: Join the winning team man.




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